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Full text of "Tacitus : [in five volumes]"

THE LIBRARY 

of 

VICTORIA UNIVERSITY 

Toronto 



THE LOEB CLASSICAL LIBRARY 

FOUNDED BY JAMES LOEB, LL.D. 

EDITED BY 
G. P. GOOLD, PH.D. 

FORMER EDITORS 

t T. E. PAGE, C.H., LiTT.D. t E. CAPPS, ph.d., ll.d. 
t W. H. D. ROUSE, LITT.D. t L. A. POST, l.h.d. 
E. H. WARMINGTON, m.a., f.r.hist.soc. 



TACITUS 
II 

HISTORIES 
Books I-III 



111 



TACITUS 

IN FIVE VOLUMES 

II 
THE HISTORIES 

BOOKS I-UI 

WITH AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION BY 

CLIFFORD H. MOORE 

OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY 




CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS 

HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS 

LONDON 

WILLIAM HEINEMANN LTD 

MCMLXXX 



Pft 

bios 
As 

\3\A 

V.2 

Cop' 5 



American ISBN 0-674-99123-0 
British ISBN 434 99111 2 

First printed 1925 
Reprinted 1936, 1952, 1956, 1962, 1968, 1980 



Printed in Great Britain by 
Fletcher d- Son Ltd, Norwich 



CONTENTS 

PAGB 

INTBODUCTION — 

LIFE AND WORKS OF TACITUS vii 

BIBLIOGRAPHY xiv 

HISTORICAL NOTE XVii 

BOOK l: TEXT AND TRANSLATION 1 

BOOK n: TEXT AND TRANSLATION 159 

BOOK III: TEXT AND TRANSLATION 327 

MAP OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE At end 

MAP OF NORTHERN ITALY „ 



INTRODUCTION 



Life and Works of Tacitus 

Our scanty knowledge of the life of Cornelius Taci- 
tus is derived chiefly from his own works and from 
the letters of his intimate friend, the younger Pliny. 
The only certain dates are the following : in 78 a. d. 
he married the daughter of Gnaeus Julius Agricola, 
whose life he later wrote ;^ in 88 he was praetor and 
a member of the college of the XVviri, but he may 
have been appointed to this sacred office before this 
year.2 The consulship he obtained in 97 (or 98),^ 
and between 113-116 (or 111-112) he governed the 
province of Asia as proconsul.'* His earlier political 
career can be determined with somewhat less 

^ Agric. 9: consul (77 a.d. ) egregiae turn spei filiam iuveni 
mi hi despondit et post consulatum coUooavit ; et statim 
Britanniae praepositus est. 

^ Ann. xi. 11 : is quoque (Domitianus) edidit ludos saecu- 
lares, iisque intentius adfui sacerdotio quindecinivirali 
praeditus ac tunc praetor. 

' Pliny, Epist. ii. i. 6: laudatus est (Verginius Rufus) a 
console Cornelio Tacito ; nam hie supremus felicitati eius 
cumulus accessit, laudator eloquentissimus. The question 
as to the year obviously depends on the date of the death of 
Verginius. For the literature on the dispute see Schanz: 
Geschichte der rom. Litteratur, § 427. 

* See an inscription from Mylasa, published in the 
Bnlletin de Correspondance HelUnique, 1890, p. 621 f. 



INTRODUCTION 

accuracy from his own words : dignitatem nostram a 
Vespasiano inchoatam, a Tito auctam, a Domitiano 
longius provectam non abnuerim.^ According to 
this we may conjecture that he had been tribunus 
mihtum laticlavius, and had held some of the 
offices of the vigintivirate under Vespasian (69-79) ; 
the quaestorship then would have come to him 
between 79 and 81. 

From the above facts we can believe that Tacitus 
was born not far from 55-56 a.d. This date fits the 
course of his political career ; besides, we know that 
he was only a few years older than his devoted 
friend, the younger Pliny, who was born in 61 or 62. ^ 
The place of his birth is unknown, and in fact his 
praenomen is uncertain ; the codex Mediceus I 
gives it as Publius, but Apollinaris Sidonius, writing 
in the fifth century, names him Gaius.^ His father 
may have been a procurator of Belgic Gaul.^ Cer- 
tainly the historian was descended from well-to-do, 
if not wealthy, parents, for he enjoyed the best 
education of his day, had the full political career of 
the nobility, and early married well. Moreover, his 
attitude of mind is always that of a proud and aristo- 
cratic Roman, without sympathy or interest in the 

1 Hist. i. 1. 

* Plin. , Epist. VII. xx. .3 ; erit rarum et insigne duos homines 
aetate dignitate propemodiim aequales, non nullius in litteris 
nominis— cogor enim de te quoque parcius dicere quia de me 
simul dice — alterum alterius studia fovisse. equidem adule- 
scentulus cum iam tu fama gloriaque floreres, te sequi, 
tibi ' longo sed proximus intervallo' et esse et haberi concupis- 
cebam. (Written probably in 107.) 

» Epist. IV. 14. 1 ; 22. 2. Cf. Mommsen, Hermes, III., p. 108, 
1 ; Studemund, ibid. viii. 232 f. 

« Pliny, N.H. vii. 76. 



INTRODUCTION 

affairs of the lower classes ; his occasional admiration 
for an independent and free spirit in foreigners is 
prompted by his desire to secure a clear contrast for 
Roman vices. 

The influence of Tacitus's rhetorical studies is 
clearly seen in all his writings, and he won reputa- 
tion as an orator.^ It was natural, then, that his 
earliest extant work, the Dialogiis de Oratonbm, 
should be an inquiry into the reasons for the decay 
of oratory under the empire. Modelled on Cicero's 
rhetorical works, it shows in form and style the effects 
of its author's study. The scene of the dialogue is 
placed in the year 74-75 a.d., but the date of com- 
position is unknown ; apparently it was not published 
until after Domitian's death (96). His other works 
belong to the field of history. Two small volumes 
preceded his larger studies. The Agricola is an 
encomiastic biography of his father-in-law, Gnaeus 
Julius Agricola. A considerable portion of this 
little book is given to a description of Britain and to 
an account of the Roman conquest, so that a triple 
interest — in geography and ethnography, history, 
and biography — is secured on the reader's part. 
The book was composed, or at least published, in 
98 A.D.2 The Germania, published at about the 
same time, gives an ethnographic account of 
Germany, in which the Romans then had an especial 
interest because of Trajan's projected expedition 
thither. There is idealization of the Germanic 
peoples at the expense of the Romans, but also much 

^ Cf. Pliny, Epist. ir. i. 6, quoted above, and ihid. il. xi. 
17 : respondit Cornelius Tacitus eloquentissinie et, quod 
eximium orationi eius inest, af^ivws. 

* Agricola, 3. 44. 



INTRODUCTION 

sober and valuable matter with regard to the 
Germanic tribes ; the booklet is the earliest signifi- 
cant account that we possess of these peoples, for 
the chapters dealing with Germany in the sixth 
book of Caesar's Gallic War are too slight to give us 
more than a glimpse of the Germanic peoples and 
their ways. 

However, as early as Tacitus was writing his 
Agricola, he was planning a larger historical work 
which should deal with his own era.^ But with 
the passage of time his plan was somewhat changed : 
he first composed the Histories, a translation of which 
is here presented. This work began with January 1, 
69 A.D., and was carried through to the death of 
Domitian (96). Then he turned to an earlier time, 
and wrote a history of the period from the death of 
Augustus to the end of 68. He seems to have 
entitled this work Ah excessu divi Augusti, but he 
refers to it also as A?inales, and this is the name by 
which it is generally known. Our slight evidence 
shows that Tacitus was working on his Histories 
between the years 104 and 109 ; the latest chrono- 
logical reference in the Annals is to 117. Apparently 
death prevented him from carrying out his cherished 
purpose of writing the history of the happy reigns of 
Nerva and Trajan. 

The fourteen books of the Histories covex'ed the 
period from January 1, 69,^to the death of Domitian 
in 96, as stated above ; of these only Books I. -IV. 
are preserved complete, while Book V. breaks off 
with chapter 26, at about August, 70 a.d. 

^ Agric. 3: Non tamen pigebit vel incondita ac rudl voce 
memoriam prioris servitutis ac testimonium praesentium 
bonorum composuisse. 



INTRODUCTION 

The first book contains an account of the brief 
reign of Galba, of the adoption of Piso as his 
successor, and of the revolution that placed Otho in 
the imperial power and cost Galba and Piso their 
lives (1-49). Then follow (50-90) the story of the 
uprising of the legions in Germany, where Vitellius 
was proclaimed emperor, the advance of these troops 
toward Italy, and Otho's preparations to oppose them. 

With the beginning of the second book (1-10) 
Tacitus directs our attention to the East, where 
Vespasian and his son Titus begin to play an 
important role. He then turns back to Italy and to 
the struggle between the opposing forces of Otho 
and Vitellius, which ends with Otho's defeat at the 
battle of liedriacum and his suicide (11-50). The 
rest of the book (51-101) contains an account of the 
reign of Vitellius, which is quickly threatened by the 
proclamation in Egypt and Syria of Vespasian as em- 
peror. The general Mucianus, as chief of Vespasian's 
forces, advances toward the West. The legions of 
Moesia, Pannonia, and Dalmatia join Vespasian's 
cause. The news from the East finally causes 
Vitellius to despatch some forces to the north of 
Italy. 

The third book gives an account of the struggle 
between the adherents of Vespasian and those of 
Vitellius. This finally comes to a close with the 
defeat of the latter, who meets a miserable end 
at the hands of a mob of soldiers and civilians. 

VVith the fourth book we find Vespasian supreme. 
On Jarvuary 1, 70, the emperor and his son Titus 
entered on office as consuls, although both were 
still in the East. The greater part of the book, 
however (12-37; 54-79 ; 85-86), is taken up with 



INTRODUCTION 

an account of the threatening uprising of the 
Batavians under Civihs ; this story is continued in 
the fifth book (14-20), although the opening 
chapters (1-13) claim a greater interest from the 
modern reader with their history of the expedition 
led by Titus against Jerusalem. 

In time of composition the Histories lie between 
the three minor works with which Tacitus began 
his literary career and the Annals, the maturest 
product of his mind and pen. As is to be expected, 
the Histories are written in a style that has not yet 
fully attained the extreme compression of his latest 
work ; but nevertheless examples of the flowing 
period here are few, and the sentences are frequently 
overweighted with their content. Connectives are 
comparatively rare ; the reader must often find for 
himself the connection of thought. In diction 
Tacitus avoids, when possible, the commonplace and 
vulgar, without, however, seeking for what is 
strange and unnatural. He employs poetic turns 
and phrases, being greatly influenced by his pre- 
decessors, especially by Sallust and by Vergil. Yet 
the poetic eloquence that often marks his style is all 
his own, as are the sharp epigrammatic sentences 
that form so striking a characteristic of his pages. 

In form the Histories are annalistic, often inter- 
rupting the narrative to preserve the order of 
events. To the modern reader this procedure is 
disturbing, but we must remember that it was one 
of the canonical forms of history in antiquity. 

Tacitus was a man of deep feeling and strong 
individuality. Eager as he was to write " sine ira et 
studio," 1 he was yet unable to do so; we may well 

^ Ann. I. 1. 6. 



INTRODUCTION 

conjecture that if we had to-day his account of the 
reign of Domitian, we should find that the man 
mastered the historian there as in his extant 
accounts of the reigns of Tibei-ius and of Nero. 
Conscious that the Empire did not offer him the 
great themes of the Republic, he sought after the 
springs of action that are hidden in men's hearts. 
Human motives interest him so much that he some- 
times does not give due weight to the influence of 
events themselves. He is the most individualistic, 
the most psychological of ancient historians, and in 
writing his history of the early empire he has 
endeavoured to write the history of the human soul.^ 
Like most historians of antiquity, he is also a 
moralist, who regards it as his duty to hold vice up 
to scorn and to praise virtue.^ With his age he is 
inclined to believe in astrology, prodigies and fate ; 
but on these points he often finds himself puzzled. 

We may and must at times doubt Tacitus's inter- 
pretation of his facts ; but his genius is such that 
he gives a mordant vividness to his pictures and 
descriptions. He writes with grim feeling because 
he is impassioned by his own experiences and knows 
what a tyrant is. His terse and epigrammatic style, 
unparalleled before or since, and the manner in 
which his personality pervades his work have made 
his fame secure. 

» Cf. Hist. ii. 74-76. 

^ Ann. III. 65. 1 : praecipuiim munus annalium reor ne 
virtutes sileantur utque pravis dictis factisque ex posteritate 
et infamia metus sit. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Manuscripts 

The text of the Histories depends on a single 
manuscript, the Mediceus II (M), known also as the 
Laurentianus 68, 2, in which are found as well 
Annals XI-XVI and Apuleius, De Magia, Metamor- 
phoses, and Florida. This manuscript was written in 
the eleventh century in Langobard script at Monte 
Cassino. It is published in facsimile with an intro- 
duction by Enrico Rostagno : Codices graeci ei latini 
pkotograpkice depicti, VII. 2, Leiden, 1902. All 
other manuscripts are copies of the Mediceus 
and comparatively useless, except to supply the 
text in two passages that are now missing in the 
parent manuscript : I. 69-75 and I. 86-11. 2. 

Printed Editions 

The editio princeps brought out by Vindelinus 
de Spira in Venice in 1470 contained Annals XI- 
XVI, Histories, Germania, and Dialogus. The first 
edition of all the works was by Beroaldus, published 
at Rome in 1515. 

Modern editions are numerous. The text edition 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

of Halm, 4th ed., Leipsic, 1884, has long been the 
standard ; but it has now been somewhat replaced for 
the Histories by that of Van der Vliet, Groningen, 
1900, and by C. D. Fisher's in the Oxford Classical 
Texts, 1910. 

Among annotated editions of the Histories the 
following may be named : E. Wolff, Berlin, 1886, 
1888; C. Heraeus, Leipsic 5, 1904; A. D. Godley, 
London, 1887, 1890; and W, A. Spooner, London, 
1891. 

For studying tlie language of Tacitus, Gerber and 
Greef, Lexicon Taciteum, 2 vols., Leipsic, 1903, is 
indispensable. 

Translations 

The earliest English translation of tlie Histories 
(I. -IV.) was made by Sir Henry Savile, London, 1591. 
The translation of the complete works by Arthur 
Murphy, London (1793), 1811, long remained the 
standard English translation. 

More modern and better translations are by 
Church and Brodribb, London (1864), 1905; 
W. Hamilton Fyfe, Oxford, 1912 ; and G. G. Ramsay, 
London, 1915. ' That by H. VV. Quill, London, 1892, 
1896, may also be mentioned, but it is inferior to 
those just named. In French there is an excellent 
rendering by Burnouf, Paris, 1914. Although the 
following translation was made in the first draft 
largely in Italy with none of these renderings at 
hand, it probably owes more to them all than the 
translator is aware ; for whatever he has taken, con- 
sciously or unconsciously, he is sincerely grateful. 

It is unnecessary to say anything on the diffi- 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

culties of translating Tacitus to those who have 
attempted to render even a small portion of his 
work ; and the experiment is earnestly recommended 
to all who would entertain a kindly charity toward 
one who has dared to face the tempting but 
impossible task. 



ADDENDUM (1980) 

Editions with Commentary: 

H. Heubner: I (1963); II (1968); III (1972); 

IV (1976), Heidelberg 
K. Wellesley: 111(1972) 

Commentary : 

G. E. F. Chilver: A Historical Commentary on 
Tacitus' Histories I and II, Oxford 1980 

Studies: 

Sir Ronald Syme: Tacitus, 2 volumes, Oxford 1958 
Sir Ronald Syme : Ten Studies in Tacitus. Oxford 
1970 

Surveys of Scholarship : 

Classical World {Weekly): volumes 48 (1954) 121; 

58 (1964) 69; 63 (1970) 253; 71 (1977) 1 
F. D. R. Goodyear: Tacitus: Greece and Rome 

Surveys 4, Oxford 1970 



XVI 



HISTORICAL NOTE 

To understand the events narrated in the opening 
chapters of the Histories it is necessary to have in 
mind the events that led up to the death of Nero 
and the acceptance of the imperial office by Galba. 

As a result of the discontent with Nero, Servius 
Sulpicius Galba had been proclaimed imperator by 
his troops in Hither Spain early in April, 68. 
Galba was now in his seventy-third year. He was 
of high birth and had been consul thirty-five years 
before ; under Caligula he had distinguished himself 
when governor of Gaul by repelling the German 
invasion in 39 a.d., and at Caligula's death he had 
declined to listen to his friends who urged him to 
claim the imperial power. Later the Emperor 
Claudius sent him to govern the province of Africa, 
then distressed by the poor discipline prevailing 
among the soldiers and threatened by barbarian 
raids. After restoring discipline and securing peace, 
for which accomplishments he was highly honoured, 
Galba retired from public life, but in 60 he was re- 
called by Nero, who sent him to govern Hispania 
Tarraconensis. 

Early in the year 68 Galba liad been approached 
by Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, who pro- 
posed that they should revolt and that Galba should 



HISTORICAL NOTE 

be emperor. The old man was too cautious to 
embark then upon so dangerous an enterprise, but 
after the revolt under Vindex had broken out he 
began to fear for his own safety ; claiming that his 
life was sought by Nero, he called his troops 
together and addressed them on the state of the 
empire. Although they proclaimed him emperor 
(iviperalor), Galba styled himself only the repre- 
sentative of the Senate and the people (legatus 
senatus populiqiie Romani). He was su[)ported by 
Otho, governor of Lusitania, and Caecina, quaestor 
of Baetica. After tlie rebellion under Vindex had 
been crushed and Vindex himself had committed 
suicide, Galba's situation seemed desperate, but 
Nero's hesitation and levity saved him. Finally, 
Nympidius Sabinus, prefect of the praetorian guards, 
embraced Galba's cause for his own purposes ; Nero 
was condemned to death by the Senate, and met 
his end in the suburban villa of his freedman Phaon 
on the night of June 9. Seven days later the news 
reached Galba at Clunia in Sj)ain, whereupon he 
assumed the imperial name. His progress to Rome 
was slow ; pretenders in Spain and Gaul had to be 
put down, and claimants from Germany and Africa 
disposed of; in October he entered Rome, after 
overcoming the real, or supposed, opposition of some 
marines at the Mulvian Bridge. 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 
BOOK I 



CORNELII TACITI 

HISTORIARUM 

LIBER I 

I. Initium milii operis Servius Galba iteium Tilus 
Vinius consules erunt. Nam post conditam urbeni 
octingentos et viginti prions aevi annos multi 
auctores rettulerunt, dum res populi Roniani memora- 
bantur pari eloquentia ac libertate : postquam 
bel latum apud Actium atque omnem potentiam ad 
unum conterri pacis interfuit, magna ilia ingenia 
cessere ; simul Veritas pluribus modis infracta, 
primum inscitia rei publicae ut alienae, mox libidine 
adsentandi aut rursus odio adversus dominantis. Ita 
neutris cura posteritatis inter infensos vel obnoxios. 
Sed ambitionem scriptoris facile averseris/ obtrectatio 
et livor pronis auribus accipiuntur ; qiiippe adulationi 
foedum crimen servitutis, malignitati falsa species 
libertatis inest. Mihi Galba Otho Vitellius nee 
beneficio nee iniuria cogniti. Dignitatem nostram 

^ averseris Pichcna : adverseris M. 

^ Jan. 1, 09 A.D. 

* To be meticulously exact, the period was 8'2'2 years, 
according to the Varronian date of the founding of Rome, 
753 B.C., which was generally accepted in Tacitus's day. 

' Tacitus thus dates the beginning of the Empire at 31 
B.C. ; yet the position of Augustus was not made wholly 
constitutional until January, 27 B.C. 
2 



THE HISTORIES OF 

TACITUS 

BOOK I 

I. I BEGIN my work with the second consulship of 
Servius Galba, when Titus V^inius was his colleague. ^ 
Many historians have treated of the earlier period 
of eight hundred and twenty years from the founding 
of Rome, and while dealing with the Republic they 
have written with equal eloquence and freedom. 2 
But after the battle of Actium, when the interests 
of peace required that all power should be concen- 
trated in the hands of one man,^ writers of like 
ability disappeared ; and at the same time historical 
truth was impaired in many ways : first, because 
men were ignorant of politics as being not any 
concern of theirs ; later, because of their passionate 
desire to flatter ; or again, because of their hatred of 
their masters. So between the hostility of the one 
class and the servility of the other, posterity was 
disregarded. But while men quickly turn from a 
historian who curries favour, they listen with ready 
ears to calumny and spite ; for flattery is subject to 
the shameful charge of servility, but malignity makes 
a false show of independence. In my own case I 
had no acquaintance with Galba, Otho, or Vitellius, 
through either kindness or injury at their hands. I 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

a Vespasiano inchoatam, a Tito auctam, a Domitiano 
longius provectam non abnuerim : sed incorruptam 
fidem professis neque aniore quisquam et sine odio 
dicendus est. Quod si vita suppeditet, principatum 
divi Nervae et imperium Traiani, uberiorem securio- 
remque materiam, senectuti seposui, rara temporum 
felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere 
licet. 

II. Opus adgredior opimum casibus/ atrox proeliis, 
discors seditionibus, ipsa etiam pace saevum. Quat- 
tuor priiicipes ferro interempti : trina bella civilia, 
plura externa ac plerumque permixta : prosperae 
in Oriente, adversae in Occidente res : turbatum ^ 
lUyricum, Galliae nutantes, perdomita Britannia et 
statim oniissa^: coortae in nos Sarmatarum ac Sue- 
borum gentes, nobilitatus cladibus mutuis Dacus, 
mota prope etiam Parthorum arma falsi Neronis 
ludibrio. lam vero Italia novis cladibus vel post 
longam saeculorum seriem repetitis adflicta. Haustae 

^ opimum codd. dett. : opibus M, 

^ prospere Inorientem adversae in occidentes. retnrbatum M. 

® omissa Li'psius : missa M. 

^ Tacitus must have been quaestor under Vespasian or 
Titus, for he was praetor in 88, and consul in 97 a.d. 

* So far as we know, Tacitus never carried out his plan. 
After finishing iiis Histories, which covered the years 69-96 
A.D., he turned back and wrote the Annals, embracing the 
years 14-68 a.d. 

* Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Domitian. 

■* Two of the three civil wars were those of Otho against 
Vitellius and of Vitellius against Vespasian ; the third was 
probably that of Domitian against the revolting governor of 



BOOK I. i.-ii. 

cannot deny that my political career owed its 
beginning to Vespasian; that Titus advanced it; 
and that Domitian carried it further ; ^ but those 
who profess inviolable fidelity to truth must write 
of no man with affection or with hatred. Yet if my 
life but last, I have reserved for my old age the 
history of the deified Nerva's reign and of Trajan's 
rule, a richer and less perilous subject, because of 
the rare good fortune of an age in which we may 
feel what we wish and may say what we feel.^ 

II. The history on which I am entering is that of 
a period rich in disasters, terrible with battles, torn 
by civil struggles, horrible even in peace. Four 
emperors fell by the sword ; ^ there were three civil 
wars, more foreign wars, and often both at the same 
time. There was success in the East, misfortune in 
the West. lUyricum was disturbed, the Gallic 
provinces wavering, Britain subdued and immedi- 
ately let go.* The Sarmatae and Suebi rose against 
us ; the Dacians won fame by defeats inflicted and 
suffered ; even the Parthians were almost roused to 
arms through the trickery of a pretended Nero.^ 
Moreover, Italy was distressed by disasters unknown 
before or returning after the lapse of ages. Cities 

Upper Germany, L. Antoniua Saturninus, in 89 A.D. Suet. 
Dom. 6 f. ; Dio Cassius, Ixvii. 11. 

The foreign wars were against the Rhoxolani (i. 79) and 
the Jews (v. 1). The successes in the East were won in the 
latter war, while the disasters in the West were caused by 
the revolt of Civilis and his Batavians, as is narrated below, 
especially iv. 12-37, 54-79 ; v. 14-26. 

The subjugation of Britain was accomplished by Agricola, 
the father-in-law of Tacitus, in 77-84 a. d. ; in the later years 
of Domitian's reign some parts of the province apparently 
were lost. 

* See Suet. Dom. 6 ; Ner. 57. 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Hut obrutae urbes, fecundissinia Campaniae ora ; et 
urbs incendiis vastata, consumptisantiquissimis delu- 
bris, ipso Capitolio civium inaiiibus incenso. PoHutae 
caerimoniae, magna adulteria: plenum exiliis mare, 
infecti caedibus scopuH. Atvocius in urbe saevitum : 
nobilitas, opes, oniissi gestique honores pro crimine 
et ob virtutes certissimum exitium. Nee minus 
praemia delatorum invisa quam scelera, cum alii 
sacerdotia et consulatus ut spolia adej)ti, procurationes 
alii et interiorem potentiam, agerent verterent 
cuncta odio et terrore. Corrupti in dominos servi, 
in patronos liberti ; et quibus deerat inimicus per 
amicos oppressi. 

III. Non tamen adeo virtutum sterile saeculum 
ut non et bona exempla [)rodiderit. Comitatae 
profugos liberos matres, secutae maritos in exilia 
coniuges : propinqui audentes, constantes generi, 
contumax etiam adversus tormenta servorum fides ; 
supremae clarorum virorum necessitates fortiter 
toleratae^ et laudatis antiquorum mortibus pares 
exitus. Praeter multiplicis rerum humanarum casus 
caelo terraque prodigia et fulminum monitus et 
futurorum praesagia, laeta tristia, ambigua mani- 
festa ; nee enim umquam atrocioribus populi Romani 
cladibus magisve iustis indiciis adprobatum est non 
esse curae deis securitatem nostram, esse ultionem.. 

^ necessitates fortiter toleratae codd. dett. : necessitates 
ipsa necessitas fortiter tolerata J/. 



^ The reference is to the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 a.d. 
Pliny, Episf. vi. 16 and 20. 

^ Bv the fire of 69 (iii. 71), anrl by the conflagration under 
Titus," 80 A.D. Dio Cassius, Ixvi. 24. 



BOOK I. ii.-iii. 

on the rich fertile shores of Campania were swallowed 
up or overwhelmed ; ^ Rome was devastated by con- 
flagrations, in which her most ancient shrines were 
consumed and the very Capitol fired by citizens' 
hands.^ Sacred rites were defiled ; there were 
adulteries in high places. The sea was filled with 
exiles, its cliffs made foul with the bodies of the 
dead. In Rome there was more awful cruelty. 
High birth, wealth, the refusal or acceptance of 
office — all gave ground for accusations, and virtues 
caused the surest ruin. The rewards of the in- 
formers were no less hateful than their crimes; for 
some, gaining priesthoods and consulships as spoils, 
others, obtaining positions as imperial agents and 
secret influence at court, made havoc and turmoil 
everywhere, inspiring hatred and terror. Slaves 
were corrupted against their masters, freedmen 
against their patrons ; and those who had no enemy 
were crushed by their friends. 

III. Yet this age was not so barren of virtue that 
it did not display noble examples. Mothers accom- 
panied their children in flight; wives followed their 
husbands into exile; relatives displayed courage, 
sons-in-law firmness, slaves a fidelity which defied 
even torture. Eminent men met the last necessity 
with fortitude, rivalling in their end the glorious 
deaths of antiquity. Besides the manifold mis- 
fortunes that befell mankind, there were prodigies 
in the sky and on the earth, warnings given by 
thunderbolts, and prophecies of the future, both 
joyful and gloomy, uncertain and clear. For never 
was it more fully proved by awful disasters of the 
Roman people or by indubitable signs that the gods 
care not for our safety, but for our punishment. 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

IV. Ceterum antequam destinata componam, re- 
petenduni videtur qualis status urbis, quae mens 
exercituuni, quis habitus proviiiciarum, quid in toto 
terrarum orbe validum, quid aegrum fuerit, ut non 
modo casus eventusque leruni^ qui plerumque fortuiti 
sunt, sed ratio etiam causaeque noscantur. Finis 
Neronis ut laetus primo gaudentiuni impetu fuerat, 
ita varies motus animorum non niodo in urbe apud 
patres aut populum aut urbanum militem, sed omnis 
legiones ducesque conciverat, evulgato imperii arcano 
posse principem alibi quam Romae fieri. Sed patres 
laeti, usurpata statim libertate licentius ut erga 
principem novum et absentem ; primores equitum 
proximi gaudio patrum ; pars populi integra et mag- 
nis domibus adnexa, clientes libertique damnatorum 
et exulum in spem erecti : plebs sordida et circo ac 
theatris sueta, simul deterrimi servorum, aut qui 
adesis bonis per dedecus Neronis alebantur, maesti 
et rumorum avidi. 

V, Miles urbanus longo Caesar um sacramento 
imbutus et ad destituendum Neronem arte magis 
et impulsu quam suo ingenio traductus, postquam 
neque dari donativum sub nomine Galbae promissum 



^ Galba was the first to be proclaimed emperor outside 
Rome. 



BOOK I. iv.-v. 

IV. Before, however, I begin the work that I have 
planned, I think that we should turn back and 
consider the condition of the city, the temper of 
the armies, the attitude of the provinces, the 
elements of strength and weakness in tlie entire 
world, that we may understand not only the 
incidents and the issues of events, which for the 
most part are due to chance, but also their reasons 
and causes. Although Nero's deatli had at first been 
welcomed with outbursts of joy, it roused varying 
emotions, not only in the city among the senators 
and people and the city soldiery, but also among 
all tlie legions and generals ; for the secret of 
empire was now disclosed, that an emperor could 
be made elsewhere than at Rome.^ The senators 
rejoiced and immediately made full use of their 
liberty, as was natural, for they had to do with a 
new emperor who was still absent. The leading 
members of the equestrian class w'ere nearly as 
elated as the senators. The respectable part of the 
common ])eople and those attached to the great 
houses, the clients and freedmen of those who had 
been condemned and driven into exile, were all 
roused to hope. The lowest classes, addicted to the 
circus and theatre, and with them the basest slaves, 
as well as those men who had wasted their property 
and, to their shame, were wont to depend on Nero's 
bounty, were cast down and grasped at every 
rumour. 

V. The city soldiery had long been accustomed 
to swear allegiance to the Caesars, and had been 
brought to desert Nero by clever pressure rather 
than by their own inclination. Now when they saw 
that the donative, which had been promised in 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

neque magnis meritis ac praemiis eundem in pace 
quem in bello locum praeventamque gratiam in- 
tellegit apud principem a legionibus factum, pronus 
ad novas res scelere insiiper Nympliidii Sabini 
praefecti imperium sibi molientis agitatur. Et 
Nympliidius quidem in ipso conatu oppressus, set^ 
quamvis capite defectionis ablato manebat plerisque 
militum conscientia, nee deerant sermones senium 
atque avaritiam Galbae increpantium. Laudata olim 
et militari fama celebrata severitas eius angebat 
aspernantis veterem disciplinam atque ita quattuor- 
decim annis a Nerone adsuefactos ut baud minus 
vitia principum amarent quam olim virtutes vere- 
bantur. Accessit Galbae vox pro re publica honesta, 
ipsi anceps, legi a se militem, non emi ; nee enim 
ad banc formam cetera erant. 

VI. Invalidum senem Titus Vinius et Cornelius 
Laco, alter deterrimus mortalium, alter ignavissimus, 
odio flagitiorum orteratum contemptu inertiae de- 
struebant. Tardum Galbae iter et cruentum, inter- 

^ set Rhcnanus : et M. 



^ N3'mphidius had promised the praetorians 7,500 drachmas 
($1,500) each, and 1,250 drachmas ($250) to each legionary, 
the former sum being the largest gift ever promised the 
soldiers. Plat. Oalha 2. 

2 Nymphidius had soon come to feel that his services were 
not duly appreciated by Galba and that Titus Vinius and 
Cornelius Laco had supplanted him in Galba's regard. He 
next gave out that he was the son of Caligula (Tac. Anv. xv. 
72 ; Plut. Galba, 9) and wished to persuade the praetorians 
to proclaim him emperor in Galba's place ; but they refused, 
and when he tried to force himself into the praetorian camp, 
they killed him. Plut. Galha, 14 ; Suet. Galba, 11. 

3 On Titus Vinius, see i. 48, below ; Laco, who had been 



BOOK I. v.-vi. 

Galba's name, was not given them,i that there were 
not the same opportunities for great services and 
rewards in peace as in war, and that the legions had 
ah-eady secured the favour of the emperor whom 
they had made, incHned as they were to support 
a revolution, they were further roused by the 
criminal action of Nymphidius Sabinus, the prefect, 
who was trying to secure the empire for himself.^ It 
is true tliat Nymphidius was crushed in his very 
attempt, but, though the head of the mutiny was 
thus removed, the majority of the soldiers were still 
conscious of their guilt, and there were plenty of 
men to comment unfavourably on Galba's age and 
greed. His strictness, which had once been esteemed 
and had won the soldiers' praise, now vexed them, 
for they rebelled against the old discipline ; through 
fourteen years they had been trained by Nero to 
love the faults of the emperors not less than once 
they respected their virtues. Besides, there was the 
saying of Galba's to the effect that he was wont to 
select, not buy, his soldiers — an honourable utterance 
in the interests of the state, but dangerous to himself ; 
for everything else was at variance with such a 
standard. 

VI. Galba was weak and old. Titus V'inius and 
Cornelius Laco, the former the worst of men, the 
latter the laziest, proved his ruin, for he had to bear 
the burden of the hatred felt for the crimes of Titus 
and of men's scorn for the lethargy of Cornel ius.^ 
Galba's approach to Rome had been slow and 

appointed prefect of the praetorian guard in place of 
Nymphidius, played a prominent part in Galba's brief reign, 
and was killed by Obho at the same time as his imperial 
master. See i. 46 ; Plut. Galba, 27. 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

fectis Cingonio V^arrone consule designato et Petronio 
i'urpiliano consulari : ille ut Nymphidii socius, hie 
ut dux Xeronis, inaiiditi atque indefensi tamquam 
innocentes perierant. Introitus in urbem trucidatis 
tot milibus inermium militum infaustus omine atque 
ipsis etiam qui occiderant formidolosus. Inducta 
legione Hispana^ remanente ea quam e classe Nero 
conscripserat, plena urbs exercitu insolito ; niulti ad 
hoc numeri e Germania ac Britannia et Illyrico, 
quos idem Xero electos praemissosque ad claustra 
Caspiarum et belhim^ quod in Albanos parabat, 
opprimendis V'indicis coeptis revocaverat : ingens 
novis rebus materia^ ut non in unum aliquem prono 
favore ita audenti parata. 

V'll. Forte congruerat ut Clodii Marci et Fontei 
Ca})itonis caedes nuntiarentur. Macrum in Africa 
baud dubie turbantem Trebonius Garutianus pro- 
curator iussu Galbae, Capitonem in (jermania, cum 
similia coeptaret, Cornelius Aquinus et Fabius \'alens 
legati legionum interfecerant antequam iuberentur. 
Fuei'e qui crederent Capitonem ut a\ aritia et Hbidine 

^ Cingonius Varro had actually composed the speech with 
which Xymphidius addressed the praetorians. Plut. Galba, 
14. Petronius Turpilianus, consul in 61 a.d., had been 
governor of Britain 61-63 (Tac. Ann. xiv. 39 ; Agri. 16) ; he 
was selected by Xero as general against Vindex and Galba, 
but had come to an agreement with the latter. Zonares, 
xi. 13, p. 570d. 

* The Claustra Caspiarum seem to be the pass which was 
also called Portae Caucasiae (Plin. N.H. vi. xiii. 40); it is 
that which leads to-day to Tifiis. 

^ Clodius Macer was governor of Africa. Cf. below, 
i. 73 ; Suet. Galha, 11 ; Plut. Galha, 6. 13. Fonteius Capito, 



BOOK I. vi.-vii. 

bloody : the consul-elect, Cingonius Varro, and 
Petronius Turpilianus, an ex-consul, had been put to 
death, Cingonius because he had been an accomplice 
of Nymphidius, Petronius as one of Nero's generals : ^ 
they were killed unheard and undefended, so that 
men believed them innocent. Galba's entrance into 
Rome was ill-omened, because so many thousands of 
unarmed soldiers had been massacred, and this inspired 
fear in the very men who had been their murderers. 
A Spanish legion had been brought to Rome ; the 
one that Nero had enrolled from the fleet was still 
there, so that the city was filled with an unusual 
force. In addition there were many detachments 
from Germany, Britain, and Illyricum, which Nero 
had likewise selected and sent to the Caspian Gates'^ 
to take part in the campaign which he was preparing 
against the Albani ; but he had recalled them to 
crush the attempt of Vindex. Here was abundant 
fuel for a revolution ; while the soldiers' favour did 
not incline to any individual, they were ready for 
the use of anyone who had courage. 

VII. It happened too that the executions of 
Clodius Macer and Fonteius Capito were reported 
at this same time.^ Macer, who had unquestionably 
been making trouble in Africa, had been executed 
by Trebonius Garutianus, the imperial agent, at 
Galba's orders. Capito, who was making similar 
attempts, had been executed in Germany by 
Cornelius Aquinus and Fabius Valens, the com- 
manders of the legions, before they received orders 
to take such action. There were some who believed 
that, although Capito's character was defiled and 

consul in 67 A.D., was governor of Lower Germany, i. 58 ; 
iii. 62. 

13 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

foeduui ac maculosum ita cogitatione rerum novarum 
abstinuisse, sed a legatis helium suadentibus, post- 
quam impellere nequiverint, crimen ac dolum ultro 
compositum, et Galbam mobilitate ingenii, an ne 
altius scrutaretur, quoquo modo acta, quia mutari 
non poterant, comprobasse. Ceterum utraque caedes 
sinistra accepta, et inviso semel principi seu bene 
seu male facta parem invidiam^ adferebant. Venalia 
cuncta, praepotentes liberti, servoruni manus subitis 
avidae et tamquam apud senem festinantes, eademque 
novae aulae mala, aeque gravia, non aeque excusata. 
Ipsa aetas Galbae inrisui ac fastidio erat adsuetis 
iuventae Neronis et imperatores forma ac decore 
corporis, ut est mos vulgi, comparantibus. 

VIII. Et hie quidem Romae, tamquam in tanta 
multitudine, habitus animorum fuit. E provinciis 
Hispaniae praeerat Cluvius Rufus, vir facundus et 
pacis artibus, bellis inexpertus. Galliae super me- 
moriam Vindicis obligatae recenti done Romanae 
civitatis et in posterum tributi levamento. Proximae 
tamen Germanicis exercitibus Galliarum civitates 
non eodem honore habitae, quaedam etiam finibus 

^ parem invidiam Bczzenberger : praeminuit iam M. 



^ Cluvius Rufus, now governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, 
wrote an account of the reigns of Xero, Galba, Otho, and 
Vitellius. He is one of the few authorities whom Tacitus 
mentions by name. 

2 In 48 A.D. Claudius had granted full citizenship to the 
Gallic nobility of G.illia Comata [Ann. xi. 23f.)- This 
privilege Galba extended to all citizens in the Gallic tribes 
and communities that had favoured Vindex and himself; 
and at the same time he reduced the tribute 25 per cent, 
i. 51 ; Plut. Galha, 18. 

14 



BOOK I. vii.-viii. 

stained by greed and lust, he had still refrained 
from any thought of a revolution, but that the com- 
manders who urged him to begin war had purposely 
invented the charge of treason against him when 
they found that they were unable to persuade him ; 
and that Galba, either by his natural lack of decision, 
or to avoid a closer examination of the case, had 
approved what was done, regardless of the manner 
of it, simply because it could not be undone. But 
both executions were unfavourably received, and 
now that the emperor was once hated, his good and 
evil deeds alike brought him unpopularity. Every- 
thing was for sale ; his freedmen were extremely 
powerful, his slaves clutched greedily after sudden 
gains with the impatience natural under so old a 
master. There were the same evils in the new 
court as in the old : they were equally burdensome, 
but they did not have an equal excuse. Galba's 
very years aroused ridicule and scorn among those 
who were accustomed to Nero's youth, and who, 
after the fashion of the vulgar, compared emperors 
by the beauty of their persons. 

VIII. Such were the varied sentiments at Rome, 
natural in a city with so vast a population. Of the 
provinces, Spain was governed by Cluvius Rufus, a 
man of ready eloquence, expert in the arts of peace 
but untrained in war.^ The Gallic provinces were 
held to their allegiance, not only by their memory 
of the failure of Vindex, but also by the recent gilt 
of Roman citizenship, and by the reduction of their 
taxes for the future ■,^ yet tlie Gallic tribes nearest 
the armies of Germany had not been treated with 
the same honour as the rest ; some had actually had 
their lands taken from them, so that they felt equal 

15 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

ademptis pari dolore conimoda aliena ac suas iniurias 
metiebantur. Germanici exercitus, quod periculo- 
sissimum in tantis viribus, solliciti et irati, superbia 
recentis victoriae et metu taniquam alias partis 
fovissent. Tarde a Nerone desciverant, nee statim 
pro Galba Verginius. An imperare noluisset du- 
bium : delatum ei a milite imperium conveniebat. 
Fonteium Capitonem occisum etiam qui queri non 
poterant, tamen indignabantur. Dux deerat ab- 
ducto Verginio per simulationem aniicitiae ; quern 
non remitti atque etiam ream esse tamquam suum 
crimen accipiebant. 

IX. Superior exercitus legatum Hordeoniuni Flac- 
ciim spernebat, senecta ac debilitate pedum invali- 
dum, sine constantia, sine auctoritate : ne quieto 
quidem milite regimen ; adeo furentes infirmitate 
retinentis ultro accendebantur. Inferioris Germaniae 
legiones diutius sine consulari fuere, donee missu 
Galbae A. Vitellius aderat, censoris Vitellii ac ter 
consulis filius : id satis videbatur. In Britannico 

^ The Lingones and Treveri, who had supported Verginius, 
are meant, i. 53f. 

^ The district along the Rhine was divided for administra- 
tive and military purposes into Upper (Germany and Lower 
Germany. Upper Germany extended on both sides of the 
Rhine from Vindonissa (^V^indisch, near Lake Constance) to 
Mogontiacum (Mayenee) ; Lower Germany from Mogontiacum 
to the North Sea, but included little territory on the east 
Imnk of the Rhine. Usually tliere were four legions in each 
district ; but at this time there were onl}' three in Upper 
Germany. 

' Aulas Vitellius had e7ijo5'cd the favour of Caligula, 
Claudius, aud Nero in turn. In 48 a. 6. he had been consul 
ordinarins with L. Vipstanus Poblicola ; he had been pro- 
consul of Africa, apparently in 60-61, and in the following 
year he served in the same province as leijalus of his brother, 

i6 



BOOK I. vin.-ix. 

irritation whether they reckoned up their neighbours' 
gains or counted their own wrongs.^ The armies 
in Germany were vexed and angry, a condition most 
dangerous when large forces are involved.^ They 
were moved by pride in their recent victory and 
also by fear, because they had favoured the losing 
side. They had been slow to abandon Nero ; and 
Verginius, their commander, had not pronounced 
for Galba immediately ; men were inclined to think 
that he would not have been unwilling to be 
emperor himself; and it was believed that the 
soldiers offered him the imperial power. Even 
those who could not complain of the execution of 
Fonteius Capito were none the less indignant. But 
they had no leader, for Verginius iiad been taken 
away under the cloak of friendshij). The fact that 
he was not sent back, but was actually brought to 
trial, the soldiers regarded as an accusation against 
themselves. 

IX. The army in Upper Germany despised their 
commander, Hordeonius Flaccus. Incapacitated by 
age and lameness, he had neither courage nor 
authority. Even when the soldiers were quiet he 
had no control ; once exasperated, the feebleness 
of his restraint only inflamed them further. The 
soldiers of Lower Germany were a considerable time 
without a general of consular rank, until Galba sent 
out Aulus V^itellius, the son of that V^itellius who 
had been censor and three times consul : his father's 
honours seemed to give him enough prestige.^ In 

who then was governor. He was a member of most of the 
important priesthoods, and also held the office of commissioner 
of public works at Rome. Tacitus characterizes him below, 
ii. 86. 

17 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

exercitu nihil iranim. Non sane aliae legiones per 
omnis civilium bellorum motus innocentius egerunt, 
seu quia procul et Oceano divisae, seu crebris ex- 
peditionibus doctae hostem potius odisse. Quies et 
Illyrico, quamquam excitae a Nerone legiones, dum 
in Italia cunctantur, Verginium legationibus adissent : 
sed longis spatiis discreti exercitus, quod saluber- 
rimum est ad contiiiendani militarem fidem, nee 
vitiis nee viribus miscebantur. 

X. Oriens adhuc immotus. Syriam et quattuor 
legiones obtinebat Licinius Mucianus, vir secundis 
advei'sisque iuxta famosiis. Insignis amicitias iuvenis 
ambitiose coluerat ; mox attritis opibus, lubrico statu, 
suspecta etiam Claudii iraeundia, in secretum Asiae 
sepositus 1 tam prope ab exule fuit quam postea a 
principe. Luxuria industria, comitate adrogantia, 
malis bonisque artibus mixtus : nimiae voluptates, 
cum vacaret ; quotiens expedierat, magnae virtutes : 
palam laudares, secreta male audiebant : sed apud 
subiectos, apud proximos, apud collegas variis inlece- 
bris potens, et cui expeditius fuerit tradere imperium 
quam obtinere. Bellum ludaicum Flavius Vespa- 

1 sepositus Acidalins : repositus M. 

^ Tlie legions here referred to had been witlidrawn on 
account of Vindex's revolt. 

* Licinius Mucianus had been consul under Nero, and in 
67 was appointed governor of Syria. After Vespasian 
claimed the imperial power Mucianus became his strongest 
supporter ; the details are given below, Books II-IV. 



BOOK I. IX -X. 

the army stationed in Britain there were no hostile 
feeHngs ; and indeed no other legions through all 
the confusion caused by the civil wars made less 
trouble, either because they were farther away and 
separated by the ocean, or else they had learned in 
many campaigns to hate the enemy by preference. 
There was quiet in Illyricum also, though the legions 
which Nero had called from that province, while 
they delayed in Italy, had made overtures to 
Verginius through their representatives ; ^ but the 
various armies, separated by long distances — which is 
the most effective means of maintaining the fidelity 
of troops — did not succeed in combining either their 
vices or their strength. 

X. The East was as yet undisturbed. Syria and 
its four legions were held b\^ Licinius Mucianus, a 
man notorious in prosperity and adversity alike. ^ 
VV'hen a young man he had cultivated friendships 
with the nobility for his own ends ; later, when his 
wealth was exhausted, his position insecure, and 
he also suspected that Claudius was angry with him, 
he withdrew to retirement in Asia and was as near 
to exile then as afterwards he was to the throne. 
He displayed a mixture of luxury and industry, of 
affability and insolence, of good and wicked arts. 
His pleasures were extravagant if he was at leisure ; 
whenever he took the field, he showed great virtues. 
You would have praised his public life ; but his 
private life bore ill repute. Yet by diverse attrac- 
tions he gained power with his subordinates, with 
those close to him, and with his associates in office ; 
and he was a man who found it easier to bestow 
the imperial power than to hold it himself. The war 
against the Jews was being directed with three legions 

19 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

sianus (ducem eum Nero delegerat) tribus legionibus 
adiiiinistrabat. Nee V^espasiano adversus Galbam 
votum aut animus : quippe Titum filiura ad vene- 
rationem cultumque eius miserat, ut suo loco me- 
morabimus. Occulta fati et ostentis ac responsis 
destinatum Vespasiano liberisque eius iraperium post 
fortunam credidimus. 

XI. Aegyptum copiasque, qiiibus coerceretur, iam 
inde a divo Augusto equites Romani obtinent loco 
regum : ita visum expedire, provinciam aditu diffi- 
cilem, annonae fecundam, superstitione ac lascivia 
discordem et mobilem, insciam legum, ignaram 
magistratuum, domi retinere. Regebat turn Tiberius 
Alexander, eiusdem nationis. Africa ac legiones in 
ea interfecto Clodio Macro contenta qualicumque 
principe post experimentum domini minoris. Duae 
Mauritaniae, Raetia, Noricum, Thraecia et quae aliae 
procuratoribus cohibentur, ut cuique exercitui vicinae, 
ita in favorem aut odium contactu valentiorum age- 
bantur. Inermes provinciae atque ipsa in primis 
Italia^ cuicumque servitio exposita, in pretium belli 
cessurae erant. Hie fuit rerum Romanarum status, 



^ Titus Flavins Vespasianus was born at Reate in 9 a.d. 
Cp to the present he hail spent his life as a soldier and 
administrator in Tlirace, Crete, Germany and Britain ; he 
had Ijeen aedile in 38, praetor in 40, and consul in 51 a.d. ; 
and in 6(5 he was appointed general by Nero to conduct the 
war against the Jews. 

^ On the position and importance of Egypt, see yinn. ii. 
59 : " For Augustus had made it one of the secret principles 
of his power to keep Egypt to himself and not to allow 
senators or eminent knights to enter it without his per- 
mission. His purpose was to save Italy from the danger of 
being starved ; indeed Italy was at the mercy of any man 
who once got control of Kgypt, for the province is the key 



BOOK I. x.-.xi. 

by Flavins Vespasianus,^ whom Nero had selected as 
general. Neither Vespasian's desires nor sentiments 
were opposed to Galba, for he sent his son, Titus, 
to pay his respects and to show his allegiance to 
him, as we shall tell at the proper time. The 
secrets of Fate, and the signs and oracles which 
predestined Vespasian and liis sons for power, we 
believed only after his success was secured. 

XI. Egypt, with the troops to keep it in order, 
lias been managed from the time of the deified 
Augustus by Roman knights in place of their former 
kings.^ It had seemed wise to keep thus under 
the direct control of the imperial house a province 
which is difficult of access, productive of great 
harvests, but given to civil strife and sudden dis- 
turbances because of the fanaticism and superstition 
of its inhabitants, ignorant as they are of laws 
and unacquainted with civil magistrates. At this 
time the governor was Tiberius Alexander, himself 
an Egyptian. Africa and its legions, now that 
Clodius Macer had been killed, were satisfied with 
any emperor after their experience of a petty 
tyrant. The two provinces of Mauritania, Raetia, 
Noricum, Thrace and the other districts which were 
in charge of imperial agents, were moved to favour 
or hostility by contact with forces more powerful 
than themselves, according to the army near which 
each was. The provinces without an army, and 
especially Italy itself, were exposed to slavery under 
any master and destined to become the rewards of 
war. 

This was the condition of the Roman state when 

to both sea and land ; and a small force there could resist 
large armies." 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

cum Servius Galba iteriim Titus Vinius consules 
inclioavere annum sibi ultinium^ rei publicae prope 
supremum. 

XII. Paucis post kalendas lanuarias diebus Pom- 
})ei Propinqui procuratoris e Belgica litterae adferun- 
tur^ superioris Germaniue legioues ruptu sacramenti 
rcvereiitia imperatorem aliuni flagitare et senatui ac 
populo Romano arbitrium eligendi {)ermittere quo 
seditio mollius acciperetur. Maturavit ea res con- 
silium Galbae iam pridem de adoptione secum et 
cum proximis agitantis. Non sane crebrior tota 
civitate sermo per illos mensis fuerat, primum licen- 
tia ac libidine talia loquendi, dein fessa iam aetate 
Galbae. Paucis iudicium aut rei publicae amor : 
multi stulta spe, prout quis amicus vel cliens, hunc 
vel ilium ambitiosis ^ rumoribus destinabant, etiam in 
Titi Vinii odium^ qui in dies quanto potentior eodem 
actu invisior erat. Quippe hiantis in magna fortuna 
amicorum cupiditates ipsa Galbae facilitas intende- 
bat, cum apud infirmum et credulum minore metu et 
maiore praemio peccaretur. 

XIII. Potentia principatus divisa in Titum Vinium 
consulem Cornelium Laconem praetorii praefectum ; 
nee minor gratia Icelo Galbae liberto, quem anulis 

^ ambitiosis Agricola : amljitionis M. 



BOOK I. xi.-xiii. 

Servius Galba, chosen consul for the second time, 
and his colleague Titus V'inius entered upon the 
year that was to be for Galba his last and for the 
state almost the end. 

XII. A few days after the first of January a despatch 
was brought from Pompeius Propinquus, imperial 
agent in Belgic Gaul, saying that the legions of 
Upper Germany had thrown off' all regard for their 
oath of allegiance and were demanding another 
emperor, but that they left the choice to the senate 
and the Roman people, that their disloyalty might 
be less seriously regarded. This news hastened 
Galba's determination. He had already been con- 
sidering with himself and his intimates the question 
of adopting a successor; indeed during the last few 
months nothing had been more frequently discussed 
throughout the state, first of all because of the 
licence and the passion which men now had for such 
talk, and secondly because Galba was already old 
and feeble. Few were guided by sound judgment 
or real patriotism ; the majority, prompted by 
foolish hope, named in their selfish gossip this man 
or that whose clients or friends they were; they 
were also moved by hatred for Titus V^inius, whose 
unpopularity increased daily in proportion to his 
power. Moreover, Galba's very amiability increased 
the cupidity of his friends, grown greedy in their 
high good fortune ; since they were dealing with 
an infirm and confiding man, they had less to fear 
and more to hope from their wrong-doings. 

XIII. The actual power of the principate was 
divided between Titus Vinius the consul and Cor- 
nelius Laco the praetorian prefect, nor was the 
influence of Icelus, Galba's frcedman, less than 

23 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

donatuni equestri nomine Marcianum vocitabant. 
Hi discoides et rebus niinoribus sibi quisque ten- 
dentes, circa consilium eligendi successoris in duas 
factiones scindebantur. Vinius pro M. Othone, Laco 
atque Icelus consensu noii tam unum aliquem fove- 
bant quam alium. Neque erat Galbae ignota Otlionis 
ac Titi Vinii amicitia ; et rumoribus nihil silentio 
transmittentium, quia V'inio vidua filia, caelebs Otho, 
gener ac socer destinabantur. Credo et rei publicae 
curam subissCj frustra a Nerone translatae si apud 
Othonem relinqueretur. Namque Otho pueritiam 
incuriose, adulescentiam petulanter egerat, grains 
Neroni aemulatione luxus. Eoque Poppaeam Sabi- 
nam, principale scortum, ut apud conscium libidinum 
deposuerat, donee Octaviam uxorem amoliretur. 
Mox suspectum in eadem Poppaea in provinciam 
Lusitaniam specie legationis seposuit. Otho comi- 
ter administrata provincia primus in partis trans- 
gressus nee segnis et, donee bellum fuit, inter 
praesentis splendidissimus, spem adoptionis statim 
conceptam acrius in dies rapiebat, faventibus 

' Icelus had hurried from Rome to Galba in Spain with 
the news of Xero's death, and had been rewarded with the 
gold ring and the privilege of wearing the narrow purple 
stripe {angustus clavus) on his tunic, that were prerogatives 
of the equestrian order. He then became one of (Jalba's 
chief advisers ; he was later executed by Otho. Plut. 
Galba, 7; Suet. Galba, 14. 22. 

24 



BOOK I. XIII. 

theirs. He had been presented with the ring of 
a knight, and people called him Marcianus, an 
equestrian naine.^ These three quarrelled with one 
another, and in small matters each one worked for 
himself; but in the question of choosing a successor 
they were divided into two parties. Vinius favoured 
Marcus Otho; I<aco and Icelus agreed not so much 
in favouring any particular person as in supporting 
someone other than Otho. Galba was not ignorant 
of the friendship between Otho and Titus Vinius ; 
and the common gossip of people, who let nothing 
pass in silence, was already naming Otho the son- 
in-law and Vinius the father-in-law, because the 
former was a bachelor and \ inius had an unmarried 
daughter. I can believe that Galba cherished also 
some thought for the state, which had been wrested 
from Nero in vain if it were to be left in the hands 
of an Otho. For Otho had spent his boyhood in 
heedlessness, his early manhood under no restraint. 
He had found favour in Nero's eyes by imitating 
his extravagance ; therefore Nero had left with him, 
privy as he was to his debaucheries, Poppaea Sabina, 
the imperial mistress, until he could get rid of his 
wife Octavia. Later the emperor suspected him in 
relation to this same Poppaea and removed him to 
the province of Lusitania, ostensibly as governor. 
He administered the ])rovince acceptably, but he 
was the first to join Galba's party and he was not 
an inactive partisan. So long as war lasted he 
was the most brilliant of all Galba's immediate 
supporters, and now, as soon as he had once con- 
ceived the hope of being adopted by Galba, he 
desired it more keenly every day that passed. The 
majority of the soldiers favoured him, and Nero's 

25 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

plerisque milituin, prona in eum aula Neroiiis ut 
similem. 

XIV. Sed Galba ])ost nuntios Germanicae sedi- 
tionis^ quamquani nihil adhuc de Vitellio certum, 
anxius quonam exercituum vis erumperet, ne urbano 
quidem militi confisiis, quod remedium unicum re- 
batur, comitia imperii transigit ; adhibitoque super 
V^inium ac Laconem Mario Celso consule designate 
ae Ducenio Gemino praefecto urbis, pauca praefatus 
de sua senectute, Pisonem Licinianum accersiri iubet, 
seu proj)ria electione sive, ut quidam crediderunt, 
Lacone instante, cui apud Rubellium Plautum exer- 
cita cum Pisone amicitia ; sed callide ut ignotum 
fovebat, et prospera de Pisone fama consilio eius 
fidem addiderat. Piso M. Crasso et Scribonia genitus, 
nobilis utrimque, vultu habituque moris antiqui et 
aestimatione^ recta severus^ deterius interpretantibus 
tristior habebatur ; ea pars morum eius quo suspec- 
tior sollicitis adoptanti placebat. 

XV. Igitur Galba, adprehensa Pisonis nianu, in 
hunc modum locutus fertur: "Si te privatus lege 

: 1 aestimatione Bcroaldus: extimatione M. 

1 M. Salvius Otho, born 32 a. d., had governed Lusitania 
well for ten years (59-68 a.d. ) under Nero, but had promptly 
joined Galba's cause and had accompanied him to Rome. 
For a somewhat different account of his relation to Poppaea, 
see Ann. xiii. 45. 

* The expression "imperial comitia" is ironical, in imi- 
tation of "consular comitia," etc., which described the 
ordinary elections. The date of the adoption was January 
10. 
26 



BOOK I. xiii.-xv. 

court was inclined to him because he was Hke 
Nero.^ 

XIV. But after Galba received word of the dis- 
loyal movement in Germany, though he had as yet 
no certain news with regard to VitelHus, he was 
distressed as to the possible outcome of the army's 
violence, and had no confidence even in the soldiers 
within the city. So he held a kind of imperial 
comitia, which he regarded as his only remedy. ^ 
Besides V^inius and Laeo, he called Marius Celsus, 
the consul-elect, and Ducenius Geminus, the city 
prefect. He first spoke briefly of his own advanced 
years, then directed that Licinianus Piso should be 
called in, either because he was his own choice, or, 
as some believed, owing to the insistence of Laco, 
who had formed an intimate friendship with Piso 
at the house of Rubellius Plautus. But Laco 
cleverly su})ported Piso as if he were a stranger, 
and Piso's good reputation added weight to Laco's 
advice. Piso was the son of Marcus Crassus and 
Scribonia, thus being noble on both sides ;3 his 
look and manner were those of a man of the ancient 
school, and he had justly been called stern; those 
who took a harsher view regarded him as morose, 
but this element in his character, which caused the 
anxious to suspect him, recommended him to Galba 
for adoi)tion. 

XV. Then Galba, according to report, took Piso's 
hand and spoke to this effect : " If as a private 
citizen I were adopting you according to curiate 

' Piso, born 38 a.d. , was long an exile under Nero (i. 48), 
and tlierefore had held no civil offices in the State. His 
father, mother, and one brother had been put to death by 
Claudius, a second brother killed by Nero. 

27 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

curiata apud pontifices, ut moiis est, adoptarem, et 
mihi egregium eiat Cn.^ Ponipei et M. Crassi sub- 
olem in penatis meos adseiscere, et tibi insigne 
Sulpiciae ac Lutatiae decora nobilitati tuae adiecisse : 
nunc me deorum hominumque consensu ad imperium 
vocatum praeclara indoles tua et amor patriae impulit 
ut princij)atuni, de quo maiores nostri armis certa- 
bant, bello adeptus quiescenti ofi'eram, exempio divi 
Augusti qui sororis filium Marcellum, dein generum 
Agrippani, mox nej^otes suos, postremo Tiberium 
Neronem privignum in proximo sibi fastigio conlo- 
cavit. Sed Augustus in domo successorem quaesivit, 
ego in re publica, non quia propinquos aut socios 
belli non habeam, sed neque ipse imperium ambitione 
accepi, et iudicii mei documentum sit non meae tan- 
tum necessitudineSj quas tibi postposui, sed et tuae. 
Est tibi fi-ater pari nobilitate, natu maior, dignus hac 
fortuna nisi tu potior esses. Ea aetas tua quae cupi- 
ditates adulescentiae iam efFugerit, ea vita in qua nihil 
praeteritum excusandum habeas. Fortunam adhuc 
tantum adversam tulisti ; secundae res acrioribus 
stimulis animos explorant, quia rniseriae tolerantur, 
felicitate corrumpimur. Fidem, libertatem, amici- 
tiam, praecipua humani animi bona, tu quidem eadem 
constantia retinebis, sed alii per obsequium immi- 
nuent : inrunipet adulatio, blanditiae et^ pessimum 

^ Cn. Freinshcim : nunc M. 
^ et add. Freudenhurg. 

1 To give validity to the adoption of a mature person the 
approval of the curiae and of the pontifices was necessary. 
The curiate assembly had lost its political power in 286 B.C., 
but it was still represented by thirty liciors, assembled 
by the pontifices. Calba, as pontifex niaximus, dispensed 
with the usual forms. 

28 



BOOK I. XV. 

law before the pontifiees, as is customary,^ it were 
both an honour to me to bring into my liouse a 
descendant of Gnaeus Ponij)ey and Marcus Crassus, 
and a distinction for you to add the glories of the 
Sulpician and Lutatian houses to your own high 
rank. But as it is, called to the imperial office, as 
I have been, by the consent of gods and men, 
I have been moved by your high character and 
patriotism to offer you in peace the principate for 
which our forefathers fought, and which I obtained 
in war. Herein I follow the example of the deified 
Augustus, Avho placed in high station next his 
own, first his sister's son Marcellus, then his son- 
in-law Agrippa, afterwards his grandsons, and finally 
Tiberius Nero, his step-son. But Augustus looked 
for a successor within his own house, I in the whole 
state. 1 do this not because I have not relatives 
or associates in arms; but I did not myself gain 
this power by self-seeking, and I would have the 
character of my decision shown by the fact that 
I have passed over for you not only my own rela- 
tives, but yours also. You have a brother as noble 
as yourself and older, worthy indeed of this fortune, 
if you were not the better man. You have reached 
an age which has already eseaj)ed from the passions 
of youth ; your life is such that you have to offer 
no excuses for the past. Thus far you have known 
only adversity ; prosperity tests the spirit with 
sharper goads, because we simply endure misfortune, 
but are corrupted by success. Honour, liberty, 
friendship, the chief blessings of the human mind, 
you will guard with the same constancy as before ; 
but others will seek to weaken them by their 
servility. Flattery, adulation, and that worst poison 

29 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

veri adfectus venenum, sua cuique utilitas. Etiam 
si^ ego ac tu simplicissime inter nos hodie loquimur, 
ceteri libentius cum fortuna nostra quam nobiscum ; 
nam suadere principi quod oporteat niulti laboris, 
adsentatio erga quemcumque principem sine adfectu 
peragitur. 

XVI. " Si immensuni imperii corpus stare ac librari 
sine rectore posset, dignus eram a quo res publica 
inciperet : nunc eo necessitatis iam pridem ventum 
est ut nee mea senectus conferre plus populo Romano 
possit^ quam bonum successorem, nee tua plus iuventa 
quam bonum principem. Sub Tiberio ct Gaio et 
Claudio unius familiae quasi hereditas fiiimus : loco 
libertatis erit quod eligi coepimus ; et finita luliorum 
Claudiorumque domo optimum quemque adoptio 
inveniet. Nam generari et nasci a principibus 
fortuitum, nee ultra aestimatur : adoptandi indicium 
integrum et, si velis eligere, consensu monstratur. 
Sit ante oeulos Nero quem longa Caesarum serie 
tumentem non \'index cum inermi provincia aut ego 
cum una legione, sed sua immanitas, sua luxuria 
cervicibus publicis depulerunt; neque erat adhuc 
damnati princij)is exem{)lum. Nos bello et ab aesti- 
mantibus adsciti cum invidia quamvis egregii erimus. 



1 etiam si Halm: etiam }[. 
* possit Rhcnanus : posset M. 



30 



BOOK I. xv.-xvi. 

of an honest heart, self-interest, will force them- 
selves in. Even though you and I S})eak to each 
other with perfect frankness to day, all other men 
will prefer to deal with our great fortune rather 
than ourselves. For to persuade a prince of his 
duty is a great task, but to agree with him, whatever 
sort of prince he is, is a thing accomplished without 
real feeling. 

XVI. " If the mighty structure of the empire 
could stand in even poise without a ruler, it were 
proper that a republic should begin with me. But 
as it is, we have long reached such a jiass that my 
old age cannot give more to the Roman people than 
a good successor, or your youth more than a good 
emperor. Under Tiberius, Gaius, and Claudius we 
Romans were the heritage, so to speak, of one 
family; the fact that we emperors are now begin- 
ning to be chosen will be for all a kind of liberty; 
and since the houses of the Julii and the Claudii are 
ended, adoption will select only the best ; for to be 
begotten and born of princes is mere chance, and is 
not reckoned higher, but the judgment displayed in 
adoption is unhampered ; and, if one wishes to make 
a choice, common consent points out the individual. 
Keep Nero before your eyes. Swelling as he was 
with pride over the long line of Caesars, it was not 
Vindex with an unarmed province, nor I with a 
single legion, but his own monstrous character, his 
own extravagance, that flung him from the necks 
of the people ; yet never before had there been a 
precedent for condemning an emperor. We, who 
have been called to power by war and men's judgment 
of our worth, shall be subject to envy, no matter 
how honourable we may prove. Yet do not be 

31 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Ne tamen teirilus fueris si duae legiones in hoc 
concussi orbis motu nondum quiescunt : ne ipse qui- 
deni ad securas res accessi, et audita adoptione 
desinam videri senex, quod nunc mihi unum obicitur. 
Nei'O a pessimo quoque semper desiderabitur : mihi 
ac tibi providendum est ne etiam a bonis desideretur. 
Monere diutius neque temporis huius, et imj)letum 
est omne consilium si te bene elegi. Utilissimus 
idem ac brevissimus bonarum malarumque rerum 
dilectus est, cogitare quid aut volueris sub alio 
principe aut nolueris; neque enini hie, ut gentibus 
quae regnantur, certa dominorum domus et ceteri 
servi, sed imperaturus es hominibus qui nee totani 
servitutem pati possunt nee totam libertatem." 

Et Galba quidem haec ac talia, tamquam principem 
faceret, ceteri tamquam cum facto loquebantur. 

XVII. Pisonem ferunt statim intuentibus et mox 
coniectis in eum omnium oculis nullum turbati aut 
exultantis animi motum prodidisse. Sermo erga 
patrem imperatoi'emque reverens, de se moderatus ; 
nihil in vultu habituque mutatum, quasi imperare 
posset magis quam vellet. Consultatum inde, pro 
rostris an in senatu an in castris adoptio noncuparetur. 
Iri in castra placuit : lionorificum id militibus fore, 

32 



BOOK I. xvi.-xvii. 

frightened if there are still two legions not yet 
reduced to quiet in a world that has been shaken 
to its foundations. I myself did not come to the 
throne in security, and when men hear that I have 
adopted you, I shall cease to seem an old man — the 
one charge that is now laid against me. Nero will 
always be missed by the worst citizens ; you and I 
must take care that he be not missed also by the 
good. To give you further advice were untimely, 
and, besides, all the advice I would give is fulfilled 
if you prove a wise choice. The distinction between 
good and evil is at once most useful and quickest 
made. Think only what you might wish or would 
oppose if another were emperor. For with us there 
is not, as among peoples where there are kings, a 
fixed house of rulers while all the rest are slaves, 
but you are going to rule over men w ho can endure 
neither complete slavery nor complete liberty." 

Galba spoke further to the same effect, as if he 
were making an emperor, but everyone else con- 
versed with Piso as if he had been already made one. 

XVII. People report that Piso gave no sign of 
anxiety or exaltation, either before those who were 
looking on at the time or afterward when the eyes 
of all were upon him. He answered with the 
reverence due to a father and an emperor ; he spoke 
modestly about himself. There was no change in 
his look or dress; he seemed like one who had the 
ability rather than the desire to be emperor. The 
question was then discussed whether his adoption 
should be proclaimed from the rostra or in the senate 
or in the praetorian camp. It was decided to go to 
the camp, for this act, they thought, would be a 
mark of honour toward the soldiers, whose support, 

33 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

quorum favorem ut largitione et anibitu male adquiri, 
ita per bonas artis baud spernendum. Circumsteterat 
interim Palatium publica expectatio, magni secret! 
impatiens ; et male coercitam famam supprimentes 
augebant. 

XVIII. Quartum idus lanuarias, foedum imbribus 
diem, tonitrua et fulgura et caelestes minae ultra 
solitum turbaverunt. Observatum id antiqiiitus co- 
mitiis dirimendis non terruit Galbam quo minus in 
castra pergeret, contemptorem talium ut fortuitorum ; 
seu quae fato manent, quamvis significata, non vitan- 
tur. A})ud frequentem militum contionem impera- 
toria brevitate adoptari a se Pisonem exemplo divi 
Augusti et more ^ militari, quo vir virum legeret, 
pronuntiat. Ac ne dissimulata seditio in maius 
crederetur, ultro adseverat quartam et duoetvicen- 
simam ^ legiones, paucis seditionis auctoribus, non 
ultra verba ae voces errasse et brevi in officio fore. 
Nee ullum orationi aut lenocinium addit aut pretium. 
Tribuni tamen centurionesque et proximi militum 
grata auditu respondent ; per ceteros maestitia ac 
silentium, tamquam usurpatam etiam in pace donativi 
necessitatem bello perdidissent. Constat potuisse 
conciliari animos quantulacumque parci senis liljerali- 

' Exemplo . . . more Ferrctits : more . . . exemplo M. 
^ duoetviceiisimam Pichcna: duodeviceiisimam M. 

' According to the primitive method of raising levies. 
34 



BOOK I. xvu.-xviii. 

when gained througli good arts, was not to be 
despised, howevei* base it was to seek it by bribery 
and canvassing. In tlie meantime an expectant crowd 
had gathered around the palace, impatient to learn the 
great secret, while the unsuccessful efforts of those 
who wished to check the rumour only increased it. 

XVIII. The tenth of January, a day of heavy 
rain, was made dreadful by thunder, lightning, and 
unusual threats from heaven. In earlier times notice 
of these things would have broken up an election, 
but they did not deter Galba from going to the 
praetorian camj), for he despised these things as 
mere chance ; or else the truth is that we cannot 
avoid the fixed decrees of fate, by whatever signs 
revealed. Before a crowded gathering of the soldiers, 
with the brevity that became an emperor, he 
announced that he was adopting Piso after the 
precedent set by the deified Augustus, and following 
the military custom by which one man chose another.^ 
And to prevent an exaggerated idea of the revolt by 
attempting to conceal it, he went on to say that the 
Fourth and Twenty-second legions had been led 
astray by a few seditious leaders, but their errors 
had not passed beyond words and cries, and presently 
they would be under discipline. He added no 
flattery of the soldiers, nor made mention of a gift. 
Yet the tribunes, centurions, and soldiers nearest 
him answered in a satisfactory manner ; but among 
all the rest of the soldiers tiiere was a gloomy 
silence, for they felt that the\^ had lost through war 
the right to a gift which had been theirs even in 
times of peace. There is no question that their 
loyalty could have been won by the slightest 
generosity on the part of this stingy old man. He 

35 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

tate : nocuit nntiquus rigor et iiimia severitas, cui 
iam pares non sumus. 

XIX. Inde apud senatum non comptior Galbae^ 
non longior quam apud militem sermo : Pisonis 
comis oratio. Et patrum favor aderat : multi volun- 
tate, effusius qui noluerant, medii ac plurimi obvio 
obsequio, privatas spes agitantes sine publica cura. 
Nee aliud sequenti quadriduo, quod medium inter 
adoptionem et caedem fuit, dictum a Pisone in pub- 
lico factumve. Crebrioribus in dies Germanicae de- 
fectionis nuntiis et facili civitate ad accipienda 
credendaque omnia nova cum tristia sunt, censuerant 
patres mittendos ad Germanicum exercitum legatos. 
Agitatum secreto num et Piso proficisceretur, maiore 
praetextu, illi auctoritatem senatus, hie dignationem 
Caesaris laturus. Placebat et Laconem praetorii 
praefectum simul mitti : is consilio intercessit. Le- 
gati quoque (nam senatus electionem Galbae per- 
miserat) foeda inconstantia nominati, excusati, 
substituti, ambitu remanendi aut eundi, ut quem- 
que metus vel spes impulerat. 

XX. Proxima pecuniae cura ; et cuncta scrutan- 
tibus iustissimum visum est inde repeti ubi inopiae 
causa erat. Bis et viciens miliens^ sestertium dona- 
tionibus Nero effuderat : appellari singulos iussit, 

• niilies Lipsius : mille M. 

' A sum roughly equivalent to $100,000,000 of our money, 
but the vastly greater value of money in antiquity must be 
taken into account to arrive at a just comparison. 

36 



BOOK I. xviii.-xx. 

was ruined by his old-fashioned strictness and exces 
sive severity — qualities which we can no longer 
bear. 

XIX. Galba's speech to the senate w^as as bald 
and brief as his address to the soldiers. Piso spoke 
with grace ; and the senators showed their approval. 
Many did this from good-will, those who had opposed 
the adoption with more effusion, the indifferent — 
and they were the most numerous — with ready 
servility, for they had their private hopes in mind 
and cared nothing for the state. During the four 
days that followed between his adoption and murder 
Piso said and did nothing further in public. More 
frequent reports of the revolt in Germany arrived 
every day, and since the citizens were ready to 
accept and believe anything strange and bad, the 
senate voted to send a delegation to the army in 
Germany. There was a secret discussion as to 
whether Piso also should go, that so the mission 
might be more imposing : the other inembers 
would take with them the authority of the 
senate, Piso the dignity of a Caesar. They voted 
to send Laco also, the prefect of the praetorian 
cohort ; but he vetoed their plan. The senate 
had left the choice of members to Galba. With 
disgraceful lack of firmness he named men, excused 
them, made substitutions, as they pleaded with 
him to stay or go, according to their fears or 
hopes. 

XX. The next anxiety was with regard to finances. 
After full consideration it seemed fairest to look for 
money from the sources where the cause of the 
poverty lay. Twenty-two hundred million sesterces 
had been squandered by Nero in gifts. ^ It was 

37 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

decima parte liberalitatis apud quemque eorum 
relicta. At illis vix decimae super portiones erant, 
isdem erga aliena sumptibus quibus sua prodegerant, 
cum rapacissimo cuique ac perditissimo non agri aut 
faenus sed sola instrumenta vitiorum manerent. 
Exaction! triginta equites Romani praepositi, novum 
officii genus et ambitu ac numero onerosum : ubique 
hasta et sector^ et inquieta urbs actionibus. Ac 
tamen grande gaudium quod tam pauperes forent 
quibus donasset Nero quam quibus abstulisset. 
Exauctorati per eos dies tribuni, e praetorio Antonius 
Taurus et Antonius Naso, ex urbanis cohortibus 
Aemilius Pacensis^ e vigilibus Julius Fronto. Nee 
remedium in ceteros fuit, sed metus initium, tam- 
quam per artem et formidinem singuli pellerentur, 
omnibus suspectis. 

XXI. Interea Othonem, cui compositis rebus nulla 
spesj omne in turbido consilium^ multa simul exstimu- 
labant, luxuria etiam principi onerosa, inopia vix 
private toleranda, in Gal bam ira, in Pisonem invidia ; 
fingebat et metum quo magis concupisceret : prae- 
gravem se Neroni fuisse, nee Lusitaniam rursus et 
alterius exilii honoreni expectandum. Suspectum 

38 



BOOK I. XX -XXI. 

voted that individuals should be summoned, and 
that a tenth part of the gifts which Nero had made 
them should be left with each. But Nero's favourites 
had hardly one-tenth left, for they had wasted the 
money of others on the same extravagances as they 
had their own ; the most greedy and depraved had 
neither lands nor principal, but only what would 
minister to their vices. Thirty Roman knights were 
appointed to collect the money. This was a new 
office, and a burden because of the number and 
intrigue of its members. Everywhere there were 
auctions and speculators, and the city was disturbed 
by lawsuits. And yet there was great joy that those 
wiio had received gifts from Nero were going to be as 
poor as those from whom he had taken the money. 
During these same days four tribunes were dis- 
missed, Antonius Taurus and Antonius Naso from 
the praetorian cohorts, from the city cohorts Aemilius 
Pacensis, and Julius Pronto from the police. Tliis 
action was no assistance against the rest, but it did 
arouse their fears : individuals, they thought, were 
being driven from office craftily and cautiously one 
by one, because all were suspected. 

XXI. In the meantime Otho, who had nothing 
to hope from a peaceful arrangement, and whose 
purpose depended wholly on disorder, was spurred 
on by many considerations. His extravagance was 
such as would have burdened an emperor, his poverty 
a private citizen could hardly have borne. He was 
angry toward Galba and jealous of Piso. He invented 
fears also to give his greed greater scope. He said 
that he had been formidable to Nero, and that he 
could not look again for Lusitania and the honour 
of a second exile ; that tyrants always suspected and 

39 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

semper iiivisumque dominantibus qui proximus des- 
tinaretur. Nocuisse id sibi apud senem principem, 
niagis nocituruni apud iuvenem ingenio trucem et 
longo exilio efferatum: occidi Othonem posse. 
Proinde agendum audendumque, dum Galbae auc- 
toritas fluxa, Pisonis nondum coaluisset. Oppor- 
tunos magnis conatibus transitus rerum, nee cunc- 
tatione opus, ubi perniciosior sit quies quam 
temeritas. Mortem omnibus ex natura aequalem 
oblivione apud posteros vel gloria distingui ; ac si 
nocentem innocentemque idem exitus maneat, 
acrioris viri esse merito perire. 

XXII. Non erat Othonis mollis et corpori similis 
animus. ¥A intimi libertorum servoruraque, cor- 
ruptius quam in privata domo habiti, aulam Neronis 
et luxus, adulteria, matrimonia ceterasque regnorum 
libidines avido talium, si auderet, ut sua ostentantes, 
quiescenti ut aliena exprobrabant^ urgentibus etiam 
mathematicisj dum novos motus et clarum Othoni 
annum observatione siderum adfirmant, genus homi- 
num potentibus infidum, sperantibus fallax, quod in 
civitate nostra et vetabitur semper et retinebitur. 
Multos secreta Poppaeae mathematicos, pessimum 
principalis matrimonii instrumentum, habuerant : e 
quibus Ptolemaeus Othoni in Hispania comes, cum 
superfuturum eum Neroni promisisset, postquam ex 
40 



BOOK I. xxi.-xxii. 

hated the man who was marked out as tlieir suc- 
cessor; this had ah-eadj injured him with the aged 
emperor, and was going to injure him still more 
with the young one, who was cruel by nature and 
embittered by long exile. An Otho could be 
murdered ; therefore he must be bold and act while 
Galba's authority was still weak and Piso's not yet 
established ; this time of transition was opportune 
for great attempts, and a man must not delay when 
inactivity is more ruinous than rash action. Death 
nature ordains for all alike ; but it differs as it 
brings either oblivion or glory in after ages ; and 
if the same end awaits the guilty and the innocent, 
it is the duty of a man of superior vigour to deserve 
his death. 

XXII. Otho's mind was not effeminate like his 
body. His intimate freedmen and slaves, who had 
more licence than prevails in private houses, con- 
stantly held before his eager eyes Nero's luxurious 
court, his adulteries, his many marriages, and other 
royal vices, exhibiting them as his own if he only 
dared to take them, but taunting him with them 
as the privilege of others if he did not act. The 
astrologers also — a tribe of men untrustworthy for 
the powerful, deceitful towards the ambitious, a 
tribe which in our state will always be both forbidden 
and retained — they also urged him on, declaring 
from their observation of the stars that there were 
new movements on foot, and that the year would be 
a glorious one for Otho. Many of these astrologers, 
the worst possible tools for an imperial consort, had 
shared Poppaea's secret plans, and one of them, 
Ptolemy, who had been with Otho in Spain, had 
promised him that he should survive Nero. Having 

41 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

eventu fides, coniectura iam et rumore senium 
Galbae et iuventam Othonis computantium per- 
suaserat fore ut in imperium adscisceretur. Sed 
Otho tamquam peritia et monitu fatorum praedicta 
accipiebat, eupidine ingenii humani libentius obscura 
credendi. Nee deerat Ptolemaeus, iam et sceleris 
instinctor, ad quod facillime ab eius modi voto 
transitur. 

XXIII. Sed sceleris cogitatio incertum an repens : 
studia militum iam pridem spe successionis aut 
paratu facinoris adfectaverat, in itinere, in agmine, 
in stationibus vetustissimum quemque militum 
nomine vocans ac memoria Neroniani comitatus 
contubernalis appellando ; alios agnoscere, quosdam 
requirere et pecunia aut gratia iuvare, inserendo 
saepius querelas et ambiguos de Galba sermones 
quaeque alia turbamenta vulgi. Labores itinerum, 
inopia commeatuum, duritia imperii atrocius accipie- 
bantur, cum Campaniae lacus et Achaiae urbes 
classibus adire soliti Pyrenaeum et Alpes et immensa 
viarum spatia aegre sub armis eniterentur. 

XXIV. Flagrantibus iam militum animis velut faces 
addiderat Maevius Pudens, e proximis Tigellini. Is 

^ On Tigellinus, see i. 72 below. 
42 



BOOK I. xxii.-xxiv. 

won credit by the event, he had then, employing his 
own conjectures and the gossip of those who com- 
pared Galba's old age and Otho's youth, persuaded 
Otho that he would be called to the imperial office. 
But Otho accepted his prophecies as if they were 
genuine warnings of fate disclosed by Ptolemy's skill, 
for human nature is especially eager to believe the 
mysterious. And Ptolemy did not fail to do his 
part ; he was already urging Otho even to crime, 
to which from such aspirations the transition is most 
easily made. 

XXIII. Yet it is uncertain whether the idea of 
committing crime came suddenly to Otho ; he had 
long been trying to win popularity with the soldiers 
because he hoped for the succession or was preparing 
some bold step. On the march, at review, or in 
camp he addressed all the oldest soldiers by name, 
and, reminding them that they had attended Nero 
together, he called them messmates. Others he 
recognized, some he asked after and helped with 
money or influence; oftentimes he let drop words of 
complaint and remarks of a double meaning con- 
cerning Galba, and did other things that tended 
to disturb the common soldiery. For they were 
grumbling seriously over the toilsome marches, the 
lack of supplies, and the hard discipline. The 
men who had been in the habit of going by ship 
to the lakes of Campania and the cities of Achaia 
found it hard to climb the Pyrenees and the Alps 
under arms and to cover endless marches along the 
high roads. 

XXIV. When the minds of the soldiers were 
already inflamed, Maevius Pudens, one of Tigellinus's 
nearest friends,^ added fuel to the fire. Winning 

43 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

mobilissimum quemque ingenio aut pecuniae indigum 
et in novas cupiditates praecipitem adliciendo eo 
paulatim progressus est ut per speciem convivii, 
quotiens Galba apud Othonem epularetur, cohorti 
excubias agenti viritim centenos nummos divideret ; 
quam velut publicam largitionem Otho secretioribus 
apud singulos praemiis intendebat, adeo animosus 
corruptor ut Cocceio Proculo speculatori, de parte 
finium cum vicinoambigenti,universum vicini agrum 
sua pecunia emptum dono dederit, per socordiam 
praefecti, quem nota pariter et occulta fallebant. 

XXV. Sed turn e libertis Onomastuni future 
sceleri praefecit, a quo Barbium Proculum tessera- 
riuni speculatorum et Veturium optionem eorundem 
perductos, postquam vario sernione cal lidos audacis- 
que cognovitj pretio et proniissis onerat^ data pecunia 
ad pertemptandos plurium aninios. Suscepere duo 
manipulares imperium populi Roniani transferendum 
et transtulerunt. In conscientiam facinoris pauci 
adsciti : suspenses ceterorum aninios diversis artibus 
stimulant, primores militum per beneficia Nymphidii 
ut suspectos, vulgus et ceteros ira et desperatione 
dilati totiens donativi. Erant quos memoria Neronis 



^ The speculatores were picked men, chosen from the 
praetorians, who formed the bodyguard of the emperor. 

44 



BOOK I. xxiv.-xxv. 

over all who were of a restless temper or who needed 
money and were hot-headed for a revolution, he 
gradually came to the point, whenever Galba dined 
at Otho's house, of using the dinner as an excuse for 
distributing one hundred sesterces to each member 
of the cohort that stood on guard. This was a 
kind of gift from the state, but Otho added to its 
significance by secret gifts to individuals ; and he 
grew so bold in his acts of corruption that when 
Cocceius Proculus, one of the bodyguard,^ had a 
quarrel with his neighbour with regard to boundaries, 
Otho bought up the neighbour's whole farm with his 
own money and gave it to Proculus. This was 
possible through the dullness of the prefect Laco, 
who equally failed to see what was notorious and 
what was secret. 

XXV. Then Otho put one of his freedmen, 
Onomastus, in charge of the crime he planned. 
When Onomastus had won over Barbius Proculus, 
the officer of the password for the bodyguard, and 
Veturius, a subaltern of the same, and had learned 
through various conversations that they were clever 
and bold, he loaded them with rewards and promises, 
and gave them money to tamper with the loyalty 
of a larger number. Two common soldiers thus 
undertook to transfer the imperial power, and they 
transferred it. Few were admitted to share the 
plot. By various devices they worked on the 
anxieties of the rest — on the soldiers of higher rank 
by treating them as if they were suspected because 
of the favours Nymphidius had shown them, on the 
mass of the common soldiers by stimulating their 
anger and disappointment that the donative had 
been so often deferred. There were some who were 

45 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

ac desideriuni prioris licentiae accenderet : in com- 
mune ^ omues metu mutandae militiae terrebantur. 

XXVI. Infecit ea tabes legioniim quoque et auxi- 
liorum motas iam mentis^ postquam vulgatum erat 
labare Germanici exercitus fidem. Adeoque parata 
apud malos seditio, etiam apud integros dissimulatio 
fuit, ut postero iduum die redeuntem a cena Otho- 
nem rapturi fuerint, ni incerta noctis et tota urbe 
sparsa militum castra nee facilem inter temulentos 
consensum tiniuissent, non rei publicae cura, quam 
foedare principis sui sanguine sobrii parabant, sed ne 
per tenebras, ut quisque Pannonici vel Germanici 
exercitus militibus oblatus esset^ ignorantibus pleris- 
que, pro Othone destinaretur. Multa erumpentis 
seditionis indicia per conscios oppressa : quaedam 
apud (ialbae auris praefectus Laco elusit^ ignarus 
militarium animorum consiliique quamvis egregii^ 
quod non ipse adferret, inimicus et adversus j)eritos 
pervicax. 

XXVI I. Octavo decimo kalendas Februarias sacrifi- 
caiiti pro aede ApolHnis Galbae haruspex Umbricius 
tristia exta - et instantis insidias ac domesticum 
hostem praedicit, audiente Othone (nam proximus 

^ commune i?/(c?ia/iws: communis. * tristitia 3/. 
46 



BOOK I. xxv.-xxvii. 

kindled by their memory of Nero and a longing for 
their former licenee : but all had one common fear of 
some change in their conditions of service. 

XXVI. This infection touched the loyalty of the 
legions also and of the auxiliaries^ who were already 
unsettled, now that it was a matter of common know- 
ledge that the army in Germany was disaffected. And 
so ready were the ill-disposed for revolt and even the 
loyal to wink at wrong-doing, that on the fourteenth 
of January they j)lanned to carry off Otho as he was 
returning from dinner, and would have done so if 
they had not been deterred by the uncertainty of 
night, by the dispersion of the soldiers in detach- 
ments scattered through the wiiole city, and by the 
difficulties of common action when men are in their 
cuj)s. They were not influenced by any anxiety 
for the state, for in their sober senses they were 
preparing to pollute it with the blood of their 
emperor ; but they feared that in the darkness any 
man who fell in the way of the soldiers from 
Pannonia or Germany might be proclaimed as Otho, 
for the majority did not know him. There were 
many signs of the outbreak of the revolt, but these 
were repressed l)y the plotters. Some things i-eached 
Galba's ears, but the prefect Laco made light of 
them ; he w-as unacquainted with the soldiers' sj)irit, 
and he was o|)posed to any plan, however excellent, 
which he did not himself propose, and obstinate 
ajjainst those who knew better than himself. 

XXV^II. On tlie fifteenth of January, when 
Galba was sacrificing in front of the temple of 
Apollo, the seer Umbricius declared that the omens 
were unfavourable, that a plot was imminent, and that 
an enemy was in his house. Otho heard this, for he 

47 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

adstiterat^) idque ut laetum e contrario et suis cogi- 
tationibus prosperum interpretante. Nee multo post 
libertus Onomastus nuntiat expectari eum ab archi- 
tecto et redemptoribus, quae significatio coeuntium 
iam militum et paratae coniurationis convenerat. 
Otho, causam digressus requirentibus, cum emi 
sibi praedia vetustate suspecta eoque prius exploranda 
finxisset, innixus liberto per Tiberianam domum in 
Velabrum, inde ad miliarium aureuni sub aedem Sa- 
turni pergit. Ibi tres et viginti speculatores con- 
salutatum imperatorem ac paueitate salutantium 
trepiduni et sellae festinanter impositum strictis 
mucronibus rapiunt ; totidem ferme milites in iti- 
nere adgregantur, alii conscientia, plerique miraculo, 
pars clamore et gladiis, pars silentio, animum ex 
eventu sumpturi. 

XXVIII. Stationem in castris agebat lulius Mar- 
tialis tribunus. Is niagnitudine subiti sceleris, an 
corrupta latius castra et^ si contra tenderet, exitium 
metuens, praebuit plerisque suspicionem conscientiae ; 
anteposuere ceteri quoque tribuni centurionesque 
praesentia dubiis et honestis, isque habitus aniniorum 
fuit ut pessimum facinus auderent pauci, plures vel- 
lent^ omnes paterentui*. 

XXIX. Ignarus interim Galba et sacris intentus 

^ adsisterat M.' 

^ The miliarium aurcum. was a column, covered with gilt- 
bronze, erected by Augustus, on which were engraved the 
names of the chief cities of the empire and their distances 
from Rome. 
48 



BOOK I. xxvii.-xxix. 

stood next to Galba, and interpreted it by contraries 
as favourable to himself and auguring well for 
his purposes. Presently his freedman, Onomastus, 
announced to him that his arcliitect and the con- 
tractors were waiting for him, this having been 
agreed upon as a sign that the soldiers were already 
gathering and that the conspiracy was ripe. When 
some asked Otho why he was leaving, he gave as an 
excuse that he was buying some properties of whose 
value he was doubtful because of their age, and 
therefore he wished to examine them first. Taking 
the arm of his freedman lie walked through the 
palace of Tiberius to the V^elabrum, and then to the 
golden milestone ^ hard by the temple of Saturn. 
There twenty-three of the bodyguard hailed him as 
emperor ; when he was frightened because there 
were so few to gi-eet him, they put him quickly into 
a chair and with drawn swords hurried him away. 
About the same number of soldiers joined them as 
they went, some through knowledge, more through 
wonder, a part with shouts and drawn swords, a 
part in silence, ready to take their cue from the 
result. 

XXVIII. Julius Martialis the tribune was the 
officer of the day in the camp. Terrified by the 
enormity of the sudden crime, ignorant of the extent 
to which the camp was disloyal, and fearing death 
if he op|)Osed, he made the majority suspect him 
of complicity. All the rest of the tribunes also and 
the centurions preferred present safety to a doubtful 
but honourable course. And such was the attitude 
of their minds that the foulest of crimes was dared 
by a few, desired by more, and acquiesced in by all, 

XXIX. Galba in the meantime was in ignorance. 

49 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

fatigabat alieni iam imj)erii deos, cum adfertur 
rumor rapi in castra incertum quem senatorem, mox 
Othonem esse qui raperetur, simul ex tota urbe, ut 
quisque obvius fuerat, alii formidine augentes^ qui- 
dam minora vero, ne turn quidem obliti adulationis. 
Igitur consultantibus placuit pertemptari animum 
cohortis, quae in Palatio stationem agebat^ nee per 
ipsum Galbam, cuius integra auctoritas maioribus re- 
mediis servabatur. Piso pro gradibus domus vocatos in 
hunc modum adlocutus est : " Sextus dies agitur com- 
militones, ex quo ignarus futuri, et sive optandum 
hoc nomen sive timendum erat, Caesar adscitus sum. 
Quo domus nostrae aut rei publicae fato ^ in vestra 
manu positum est, non quia meo nomine tristiorem 
casum paveani, ut qui adversas res expertus cum 
maxime discam - ne secundas quidem minus dis- 
criminis habere : patris et senatus et ipsius imperii 
vicem doleo, si nobis aut perire liodie necesse est 
aut, quod aeque apud bonos miserum est, occidere. 
Solacium proximi motus habebamus incruentam 
urbem et res sine discordia translatas : provisum 
adoptione videbatur ut ne ])Ost Galbam quidem bello 
locus esset. 

XXX. " Nihil adrogabo mihi nobilitatis aut mo- 
destiae ; neque enim relatu virtutum in comparatione 
Othonis opus est. Vitia, quibus solis gloriatur. 



^ fato Pu/colanus: fatiim ^f. 
^ discara Freinsheim : dicani M. 



50 



BOOK I. xxix.-xxx. 

Intent upon his sacrifices, he was importuning the 
gods of an empire which was already another's, when 
a report was brought to him that some senator or 
other was being hurried to the camp. Afterwards 
rumour said that it was Otho ; and at the same time 
people came from the whole city — some, who had 
happened to meet the procession, exaggerating the 
facts through terror, some making light of them, 
for they did not even then forget to flatter. On 
consultation it was decided to try the temper of the 
cohort that was on guard at the palace, but not 
through Galba himself, whose authority was kept un- 
impaired for more serious measures. Piso, standing 
on the steps of the palace, called the soldiers 
together and spoke as follows: "It is now five 
days, my comrades, since, in ignorance of the future, 
I was adopted as Caesar, not knowing whether this 
name was one to be desired or feared. The fate 
of our house and the State depends on you. I say 
this not because I fear misfortune on my own 
account, for I have known adversity, and at the 
present moment I am learning that prosperity 
brings no less danger. But I grieve for the fate 
of my father, the senate, and the very empire, if 
we must either ourselves die to-day or kill others — ■ 
an act which brings equal sorrow to tiie good. In 
tlie last uprising we were solaced by the fact that 
the city was unstained by blood and the government 
transferred without dissension : adoption seemed to 
provide against any occasion for war even after 
Galba's death. 

XXX. " I make no claim of high birth or character 
for myself, and I need not catalogue virtues when 
the comparison is with Otho. His faults, wliich are 

5T 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

evertere imperium, etiam cum amicum imperatoris 
ageret. Habitune et incessu an illo muliebri ornatu 
mereretur imperium ? Falluntur quibus luxuria 
specie ^ liberalitatis imponit : perdere iste sciet, 
donare nesciet. Stupra nunc et comissationes et 
feminarum coetus volvit animo : haec principatus 
praemia putat, quorum libido ac voluptas penes 
ipsumsit, rubor ac dedecus penes omnis ; nemo enim 
umquam imperium flagitio quaesitum bonis artibus 
exercuit. Galbam consensus generis humani, me 
Galba consentientibus vobis Caesarem dixit. Si res 
publica et senatus et populus vacua nomina sunt, 
vestra, commilitones, interest ne imperatorem pessimi 
faciant. Legionum seditio adversus duces suos 
audita est aliquando : vestra fides famaque inlaesa 
ad hunc diem mansit. Et Nero quoque vos desti- 
tuit, non vos Xeronem. Minus triginta transfugae 
et desertores, quos centurionem aut tribunum sibi 
eligentis nemo ferret, imperium adsignabunt ? Ad- 
mittitis exemplum et quiescendo con)mune crimen 
facitis ? Transcendet haec licentia in provincias, et 
ad nos scelerum exitus, bellorum ad vos pertinebunt. 
Nee est plus quod pro caede principis quam quod 
innocentibus datur, sed proinde a nobis donativum 
ob fidem quam ab aliis pro facinore accipietis." 

^ specie Rlienanv.s : speciem M. 
52 



BOOK I. XXX. 

the only* things in \\ hich he glories, were under- 
mining the empire even when he pretended to be 
the friend of the emperor. Was it by his bearing 
and gait or by his womanish dress that he deserved 
the throne .'' They are deceived who are imposed 
upon by extravagance under the garb of generosity. 
He will know how to ruin, he will not know how 
to give. Adulteries and revelries and gatherings 
of women fill his thoughts : these he considers the 
prerogatives of imperial power. The lust and 
pleasure of them will be his, the shame and dis- 
grace of them will fall on every Roman ; for imperial 
power gained bv wicked means no man has ever 
used honourabl}'. The consent of all mankind 
made Galba Caesar, and Galba made me so with your 
consent. If the State and the Senate and People 
are but empty names, it is your concern, comrades, 
that the emperor should not be made by the worst 
citizens. A revolt of the legions against their 
generals has been sometimes heard of ; your loyalty 
and good name have remained unimpaired down to 
the present day. It was Nero, too, who deserted 
you, not you Nero. Shall less than thirty renegades 
and deserters, men whom no one would allow to 
choose a centurion or tribune, bestow the empire .'' 
Will you allow this precedent, and by inaction 
make their crime yours ? Such licence will spread 
to the provinces, and the consequence of their 
crimes will fall on us, the resulting wars on 30U. 
The reward given the assassins for the murder of 
the emperor will not be greater than that which 
will be bestowed on those who refrain from crime ; 
nay, you will receive no less a gift from us for 
loyalty than you will from others for treason." 

53 



thp: histories of tacitus 

XXXI. Dilapsis speculatoribus cetera cohors non 
aspernata coiitionantem, ut turbidis rebus evenit, 
forte^ magis et nullo- adhuc consilio rapit signa^ quam/ 
quod postea creditum est^ insidiis et simulatione. 
Missus et Celsus Marius ad electos Illyrici exercitus, 
Vipsaiiia in porticu teiidentis ; praeceptum Amullio 
Sereno et Domitio Sabino primipilaribus, ut Germa- 
nicos milites e Libertatis atrio accerserent. Legioni 
classicae diffidebatur,^ intestae ob cat dem commili- 
tonum, quos primo statini introitu trucidaverat Galba. 
Pergunt etiam in castra praetorianorum tribuni 
Cetrius Severus, Subrius Dexter, Pompeius Lon- 
ginus, si incipiens adhuc et iiecduni adulta seditio 
melioribus consiliis flecteretur. Tribunoruui Su- 
brium et Cetrium adorti milites minis, Longinum 
manibus coercent exarmantque, quia non ordine 
militiae, sed e Galbae amicis, fidus principi suo et 
desciscentibus suspectior erat. Legio classica nihil 
cunctata jiraetorianis adiungitur; Illyrici exercitus 
electi Celsum infestis^ })ilis proturbant. Germanica 
vexilla diu nutavere, invalidis adhuc corporibus et 

^ evenit forte Pichcna : eventior te M. 
^ nullo Freiiisheirii : iionuullo M. 
^ lapit signa Meiser : par signas M. 
*■ qiiam add- Hciiisius. 

* diffidebatiir Acidalius : diffidebat M. 

* festuin incestis M. 

1 This was on the west side of the Camjym Agrippae, a 
piazza laid out by Agrippa on the Campus Martins, and 
linished and dedicated by Augustus in 7 B.C. 

^ This building, which held the archives and offices of the 
censors, had been restored b}' Asinius PoUio, who in 39 B.C. 

54 



BOOK I. XXXI. 

XXXI. The members of the bodyguard slunk 
away, but the rest of the cohort did not refuse to 
liear his speech, and, as frequently happens in times 
of excitement, they seized their standards haphazard, 
without any plan as yet, rather than, as was after- 
wards believed, to conceal their treachery. Celsus 
Marius was sent to the picked troops from Illyria, 
who were encamped in the V'ipsanian Colonnade ; ^ 
Amullius Serenus and Domitius Sabinus, centurions 
of the first rank, were ordered to summon the 
German troops from the Hall of Liberty.^ The 
legion of marines was not trusted, for they were still 
hostile to Galba, because he had immediately mas- 
sacred their comi-ades when he first entered the 
city.^ The tribunes, Cetrius Severus, Subrius 
Dexter, and Pompcius Longinus, went even into 
the praetorian camp to see if the mutiny were still 
incipient and not yet come to a head, so that it 
could be averted by wiser counsels. Subrius and 
Cetrius the soldiers attacked and threatened, 
Longinus they forcibly restrained and disarmed ; 
this action was prompted by his fidelity to his 
emperor, which was due not to his military position, 
but to his friendship for Galba ; therefore the 
mutineers regarded him with the greater suspicion. 
The legion of marines without hesitation joined the 
praetorians. The picked troops from Illyria drove 
Celsus away at the point of their spears. The 
German detachments hesitated for a long time ; 
they were still weak physically and were kindly 

established in it the first public library at Rome. It was 
apparently on or near the site on which Trajan later built 
his forum. 

" Cf. chap. 6 above, 

55 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

placatis animis, quod eos a Nerone Alexandriam 
praemissos atque inde reverses ^ longa navigatione 
aegros impensiore ciira Galba refovebat. 

XXXII. Universa iam plebs Palatium implebat, 
mixtis servitiis et dissono clamore caedem Othonis 
et coniuratorum exitium ^ poscentium ut si in circo 
aut ^ theatre ludicrum aliquod postularent : neque 
illis indicium aut Veritas, quippe eodem die diversa 
pari certamine postulaturis, sed tradito more quem- 
cumque principem adulandi licentia adclamationum 
et studiis inanibus. 

Interim Galbam duae sententiae distinebant : 
Titus Vinius manendum intra domum, opponenda 
servitia, firmandos aditus, non eundum ad iratos 
censebat : daret malorura paenitentiae, daret bono- 
rum consensui spatium : scelera imj)etUj bona con- 
silia mora valescere, denique eundi ultro, si ratio 
sit, eandem mox facultatem, regressus, si paeniteat, 
in aliena potestate. 

XXXI II. Festinandum ceteris videbatur ante- 
quam cresceret invaHda adhuc coniuratio paucorum : 
trepidaturum etiam Otlionem, qui furtim digressus, 
ad ignaros inlatus, cunctatione nunc et segnitia 

1 reverses Dodcrlein : rursus M. 
* exitium Acidalius : exituni M. 
^ aut ed. Sjnrensis : a M. 

^ Cf. Juvenal x. 54-77. 
56 



BOOK I. XX <!. -XXXIII. 

disposed towards Galba, for Nero had sent them 
to Alexandria, and then on their return, when sick 
from their long voyage, Galba had taken great pains 
to care for them. 

XXXII. The whole mass of the people, with 
slaves among them, filled the palace. There were 
discordant cries demanding Otho's death and the 
execution of the conspirators, exactly as if the 
people were calling for some show in the circus or 
the theatre ; there was neither sense nor honesty 
in their demands, for on this very same day they 
would have clamoured for the opposite with equal 
enthusiasm ; ^ but they acted according to the tradi- 
tional custom of flattering the emperor, whoever 
he might be, with fulsome acclamations and senseless 
zeal. 

In the meantime Galba was torn between two 
proposals : Titus Vinius urged the necessity of 
staying in the palace, arming the slaves for defence, 
blocking the entrances, and not going to the 
infuriated troops. Let Galba, he said, give time 
for the disloyal to repent, for the loyal to come to 
a common agreement ; crimes gained strength by 
impulsive action, wise counsels through delay ; and, 
after all, he would later have the same opportunity 
to go on his own motion if it should seem wise, but 
if he went now and regretted it, his return would 
depend on others. 

XXXIII. All the rest thought that he should act 
immediately, before the conspiracy, as yet weak and 
confined to a few, should gain strength. They 
declared that Otho would lose heart. He had 
slipped away by stealth, had presented himself to 
people who did not know him, and now, because 

57 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

terentium tempus imitari principem discat. Non 
expectandum ut compositis castris forum invadat et 
prospectante Galba Capitolium adeat, dum egregius 
imperator cum fortibus amicis ianua ac limine tenus 
domura cluditj obsidionem nimirum toleraturus. Et 
praeclarum in servis auxilium si consensus tantae 
multitudinis et, quae plurimum valet, prima in- 
dignatio elanguescat.^ Proinde intuta quae indecora ; 
vel si cadere necesse sit, occurrenduin discrimini : 
id Othoni invidiosius et ipsis honestum. Re- 
pugnantem luiic sententiae Vinium Laco minaciter 
invasit, stimulante Icelo privati odii pertinacia in 
publicum exitium. 

XXXIV. Nee diutius Galba cunctatus speciosiora 
suadentibus accessit. Praemissus tamen in castra 
Piso, ut iuvenis magno nomine, recenti favore et 
infensus Tito Vinio, seu quia erat seu quia irati ita 
volebant ; et facilius de odio creditur. \'ixdum 
egresso Pisone occisum in castris Othonem vagus 
primum et incertus rumor : mox, ut in magnis 
mendaciis, interfuisse se quidam et vidisse adfirma- 

1 indignatio elanguescat /. Gronovius : indignatione lan- 
guescat M. 

^ Cf. Suet. Galba, 19, for a different account. 
58 



BOOK I. xxxni.-xxviv. 

of the hesitancy and inactivity of those who were 
wasting their time, he was having an opportunity to 
learn to phiy the emperor. There must be no waiting 
for Otho to settle matters in the camp, invade the 
forum, and go to the Capitol under the very eyes of 
Galba, while that most noble emperor with his valiant 
friends barred his house and did not cross his thres- 
hold, being ready, no doubt, to endure a siege ! It 
was a brilHant backing, too, that they would find in 
slaves, if the united sentiment of the whole people 
and their first indignation, which is the strongest, 
should be allowed to cool ! The dishonourable, 
therefore, was the dangerous resolve ; even if they 
must fall, they should go forth to meet the danger ; 
that would bring more disrepute on Otho and 
honour to themselves. When Vinius opposed this 
view Laco attacked him with threats, goaded on by 
Icelus, who persisted in his personal enmity towards 
Vinius to the ruin of the state. 

XXXIV^ Galba did not delay any longer, but 
favoured those who oHered the more specious ad- 
vice.^ Yet Piso was sent first to the camp, for he 
was young, had a great name, and enjoyed fresh 
popularity ; he was also an enemy of Titus Vinius ; 
either that was a fact, or else in their anger the 
opponents of Vinius wished to have it so : and 
it is so much easier to believe in liatred. Piso 
had hardly left the palace when a report was 
brought, vague and uncertain at first, that Otho 
had been killed in the camp. Presently, as is 
natural in falsehoods of great importance, some 
appeared who declared that they had been present 
and had seen the murder. Between those who 
rejoiced in the news and those who were indifferent 

59 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

bant, credula fama inter gaudentis et incuriosos. 
Multi arbitrabantur conipositum auctumque rumorem 
mixtis iam Othonianis, qui ad evocandum Galbam 
laeta falso vulgaverint. 

XX XV^. Turn vero non populus tantum et imperita 
plebs in plausus et immodica studia sed equitum 
plerique ac senatorum, posito metu incauti, refractis 
Palatii foribus ruere intus ac se Galbae ostentare, 
praereptam sibi ultionem querentes, ignavissimus 
quisque et, ut res docuit, in periculo non ausurus, 
nimii verbis, linguae feroces ; nemo scire et omnes 
adfirmare, donee inopia veri et consensu errantium 
victus sumpto thorace Galba inruenti turbae neque 
aetate neque corpore resistens ^ sella levaretur. 
Obvius in Palatio lulius Atticus speculator, cruentum 
gladium ostentans^ occisum a se Othonem ex- 
clamavit ; et Galba " Commilito," inquit, '^ quis ius- 
sit ? " insigni animo ad coercendam militarem licen- 
tiam, minantibus intrepidus, adversus blandientis 
incorruptus. 

XXXVI. Haud dubiae iam in castris omnium 
mentes tantusque ardor ut non contenti agmine et 
corporibus in suggestu, in quo paulo ante aurea 
Galbae statua fuerat, medium inter signa Othonem 

^ resistens Fatrnus : sistens M. 
60 



BOOK I. xxxiv.-xxxvi. 

to it, tlie story was believed. Many thought this 
rumour had been invented and exaggerated by 
Otho's partisans who were ah-eady in the crowd 
and spread abroad the pleasant falsehood in order 
to lure Galba from his palace. 

XXX^^ Then indeed it was not the people only 
and the ignorant mob that burst into applause and 
unrestrained enthusiasm, but many of the knights 
and senators as well. They laid aside all fear and 
became incautious, broke down the doors of the 
palace and burst in, presenting themselves to Galba 
and complaining that they had been robbed of 
vengeance. They were all rank cowards, and, as 
the event proved, men who would show no courage 
in time of danger, but who now were exceedingly 
bold with words and savage of tongue. No one knew ; 
everyone affirmed. Finally, overcome by the dearth 
ot truth and by the common error, Galba put on his 
breastplate ; then since his years and strength were 
unequal to resisting the inrushing crowds, he was 
raised aloft in a chair. Julius Atticus, one of the 
bodyguard, met him in the palace, and exhibiting 
his bloody sword cried out that he had killed Otho. 
"Who gave you orders, comrade.''" said Galba; 
for Galba showed a remarkable spirit in checking 
licence on the part of the soldiers; before threats 
he was unterrified, and incorruptible against flattery. 

XXXV^I. There was no longer any doubt as to 
the sentiments of all the soldiers in the camp. 
Iheir enthusiasm was so great that they were not 
satisfied with carrying Otho on their shoulders as 
they advanced, but they placed him on a platform 
where shortly before the gilded statue of Galba had 
stood, and surrounded him with the standards and 

6i 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

vexillis circumdarent. Neo tribunis aiit centurioni- 
bus adeundi locus : gregarius miles caveri insuper 
praepositos iubebat. Strepere cuncta clamoribus et 
tumultu et exhortatione mutua, non tamquam in 
populo ac plebe^ variis segni adulatione vocibus, sed 
ut quemque adfluentium militum aspexerant, pren- 
sare manibus, complecti armis, conlocare iuxta, 
praeire sacranientuni, modo imperatorem militibus, 
modo milites imperatori oommendare. Nee deerat 
Otho protendens manus adorare vulgiinij iacere 
oscula et omnia serviliter pro dominatione. Post- 
quam universa classicorum legio sacramentum eius 
accepit, fidens viribus, et quos adhuc singulos 
exstimulaverat, accendendos in commune ratus pro 
vallo castrorum ita coepit. 

XXXV'II. "Quis ad vos processerimj commilitones, 
dicere non possum, quia nee privatum me vocare 
sustineo princeps a vobis nominatus, nee principem 
alio imperante. Vestrum quoque nomen in incerto 
erit donee dubitabitur imperatorem populi Romani 
in castris an hostem habeatis. Auditisne ut poena 
mea et supplicium vestrum simul postulentur ? 
Adeo manifestum est neque perire nos neque salvos 
esse nisi una posse ; et cuius lenitatis est Galba, iam 
fortasse promisit, ut qui nullo exposcente tot milia 
innocentissimorum militum trucidaverit. Horror 

animum subit quotiens recorder feralem introitum et 
62 



BOOK I. xxxvi.-xxxvii. 

ensigns. Neither tribune nor centurion was allowed 
to approach him : the common soldiery kept calling 
out that they must beware of their commanders above 
all. There was utter confusion, with shouts and 
tumult and mutual exiiortation — not such as one 
sees in a gathering of the people and populace, when 
there are various cries and half-hearted flattery, but 
they seized everyone the)' saw coming over to 
them, embraced them with their arms, placed them 
next to them, repeated the oath of allegiance, now 
recommending the emperor to the soldiers, now the 
soldiers to the emperor. Otho did not fail in his 
part : he stretched out his hands and did obeisance 
to the common soldiers, threw kisses, and played 
in every wav the slave to secure the master's place. 
After the entire legion of marines had sworn fidelity 
to him, enthusiastic in his strength and thinking 
that he must now encourage in a body those whom 
he had hitherto incited as individuals, he began to 
speak from the Avail of the camp as follows: 

XXXVII. "Comrades, I cannot tell who I am who 
come before you, because I may not call myself a 
private citizen after you have named me emperor, 
nor emperor while another holds the imperial power. 
Your name, also, will be uncertain so long as there 
is any doubt whether you have an emperor or an 
enemy of the Roman people in your camp. Do 
you hear how men demand my execution and your 
punishment in the same breath ? So clear it is 
that we can neither die nor be safe except together : 
and so merciful is Galba that perhaps he has already 
made promises such as befit the man who massacred all 
those thousands of innocent soldiers when no man de- 
manded it. Horror comes over me whenever I recall 

63 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

hanc solam Galbae victoriam, cum in oculis urbis 
decimari deditos iuberet, quos deprecantis in fidem 
acceperat. His auspiciis urbem ingressus, quam 
gloriam ad principatum attulit nisi occisi Obultronii 
Sabini et Cornelii Marcelli in Hispania, Betui Cilonis 
in Gallia, Fontei Capitonis in Germania, Clodii 
Macri in Africa, Cingonii in via, Turpiliani in urbe, 
Nymphidii in castris ? Quae usquam provincia, 
quae castra^ sunt nisi cruenta et maculata aut, ut 
ipse praedicat, emendata et correcta ? Nam quae 
alii scelera, hie remedia vocat, dum falsis nominibus 
severitatem pro saevitia, parsimoniam pro avaritia, 
supplicia et contumelias vestras disciplinam appellat. 
Septem a Neronis fine menses sunt, et iam plus 
rapuit Icelus quam quod Polycliti et Vatinii et 
Aegiali perdiderunt.^ Minore avaritia ac licentia 
grassatus esset T. \'inius si ipse imperasset : nunc et 
subiectos nos habuit tamquam suos et vilis ut alienos. 
Una ilia domus sufficit donativo quod vobis numquam 
datur et cotidie exjirobratur. 

XXXV^III. "Ac ne qua saltern in successore 
Galbae spes esset accersit ab exilio quern tristitia 
et avaritia sui simillimum iudicabat. Vidistis, com- 
militones, notabili tem})estate etiam deos infaustam 

^ in castris M. 
2 perdiderunt Ritler : perierunt J/. 

^ Favourite freedmen of Nero, whose inclination indulged 

their greed. 

64 



BOOK I. xxxvii.-xxxviii. 

his fateful entrance, and the single victory that he 
won, when he gave orders that those who surrendered 
should be decimated in the sight of the whole city ; 
they were the very men whom he had received under 
his protection in answer to their appeals. Such 
were the auspices under which he entered the city. 
Now what glory has he brought to the principate, 
except the murder of Obultronius Sabinus and 
Cornelius Marcellus in Spain, of Betuus Cilo in 
Gaul, of Fonteius Capito in Germany, of Clodius 
Macer in Africa, of Cingonius on the way to Rome, 
of Turpilianus in the city, of Nymphidius in the 
camp f What province is there anywhere, what 
camp, that is not bloodstained and defiled, or, as 
Galba would say, purged and disciplined? For 
what other men call crimes he calls ' remedies,' falsely 
naming cruelty ' strictness,' avarice ' frugality,' the 
punishment and insults you suffer 'discipline.' It is 
seven months since Nero met his end, and already 
Icelus has stolen more than all that a Polyclitus 
and a Vatinius and an Aegialus squandered. ^ Titus 
^"inius would have proceeded with less greed and 
lawlessness if he had been emperor himself; now 
he keeps us under his heel as if we were his slaves, 
and regards us as cheap because we belong to 
another. Galba's house alone is equal to paying the 
donative which is never given to you, but daily 
thrown in your teeth. 

XXXV^III. " Furthermore, to prevent your having 
any hope even in his successor, Galba summoned 
from exile the man whose glooin and greed he 
reckoned made him most like himself. Comrades, 
you saw how even the gods by a wonderful storm 
expressed their disapproval of this ill-starred adop- 

65 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

adoptionem aversantis.^ Idem senatus, idem populi 
Romani animus est: vestra virtus expectatur, apud 
quos omne lionestis consiliis robur et sine quibus 
quanivis egregia invalida sunt. Non ad bellum vos 
nee ad periculum voco : omnium militum arma no- 
biscum sunt. Nee una cohors togata defendit nunc 
Galbam sed detinet : cum vos aspexerit, cum signum 
meum acceperit, hoc solum erit certamen^ quis milii 
plurimum imputet. Nullus cunctationis locus est in 
eo consilio quod non potest laudari niyi peractum.'' 
Aperire deinde armamentarium iussit. Rapta statim 
arma, sine more et ordine militiae, ut praetorianus 
aut legionarius insignibus suis distingueretur : mis- 
centur auxiliaribus galeis scutisque, nullo tribunorum 
centurionumve adhortante, sibi quisque dux et 
instigator; et praecipuum pessimorum incitamcntum 
quod boni maerebant. 

XXXIX. lam exterritus Piso fremitu crebre- 
scentis seditionis et vocibus in urbem usque 
resonantibus, egressum interim Galbam et foro 
adpropinquantem adsecutus erat ; iam Marius Celsus 
baud laeta rettulerat, cum alii in Palatium redire, 
alii Capitolium petere, plerique rostra occupanda 
censerent, plures tantum sententiis aliorum contra 
dicerent, utque evenit in consiliis infelicibus, optima 
viderentur quorum tempus etfugerat. Agitasse Laco 

1 aversautes Agricola : adversantes M. 
66 



BOOK I. XXXVIII. -XXXIX. 

tion. The senate, the Roman people, have the 
same feelings : they look to brave action on your 
part, for in you is all strength for honourable plans, 
and without you purposes, however noble, are of 
no avail. It is not to war or to clanger that I am 
calling you ; all the armed forces are on our side. 
And that one cohort in civil dress is not now defend- 
ing Galba, but detaining him ; when it has once 
seen you, has once accepted my watchword, the 
only rivalry between 3'ou will be to see who can 
put me most in his debt. There is no time for 
delay in a plan which is not praiseworthy unless 
put into effect." Then he ordered the armoury to 
be opened. The soldiers immediately seized arms 
without regard to military custom or rank, with no 
desire to distinguish praetorian or legionary by their 
proper insignia ; they wore the helmets and shields 
of auxiliaries without distinction ; there was no 
tribune or centurion to direct them ; each guided 
and spurred himself on ; and the chief incentive of 
the rascals was the grief of loyal men. 

XXXIX. Piso, already terrified by the roar that 
arose from the growing revolt and by the shouts 
whose echoes reached even the city, had now caught 
up with Galba, who had meanwhile left the palace 
and was approaching the forum. Already Marius 
Celsus had brought a discouraging report. There- 
upon some proposed that Galba return to the palace, 
others that he try to reach the Capitol, while many 
urged the necessity of seizing the rostra. But the 
majority simply opposed the advice of others ; and 
as usually happens in the case of such unfortunate 
proposals, those plans for which the opportunity was 
past, now seemed the best. Men say that Laco, 

67 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

ignaro Galba de occidendo Tito Vinio dicitur, sive 
ut poena eius animos militum mulceret, seu conscium 
Othonis credebat, ad postremum ^ vel odio. Haesi- 
tationem attulit tempus ac locus^ quia initio caedis 
orto difficilis modus ; et turbavere consilium trepidi 
nuntii ac proximorum difFugia, languentibus omnium 
studiis qui primo alacres fidem atque animum 
ostentaverant.2 

XL. Agebatur hue illuc Galba vario turl)ae fluc- 
tuantis impulsu, completis undique basilicis ac 
templis, lugubri prospectu. Neque populi aut plebis 
ulla vox, sed attoniti vultus et conversae ad omnia 
aures ; non tumultus, non quies, quale magni metus 
et magnae irae silentium est. Othoni tamen armari 
plebem nuntiabatur ; ire praecipitis et occupare peri- 
cula iubet. Igitur milites Romani, quasi Vologaesum 
aut Pacorum avito Arsacidarum solio depulsuri ac 
non imperatorem suum inermem et senem trucidare 
pergerent, disiecta plebe, proculcato senatu, truces 
armis, rapidi equis forum inrumpunt. Nee illos 
Capitolii aspectus et imminentium templorum 
religio et priores et futuri principes terruere quo 
minus facerent scelus cuius ultor est quisquis 
successit. 

• postremum Rlunaniis : posterum M. 

* ostentaverint M. 

* Vologaesus became king of the Parthians in tlie reign of 
Claudius ; Pacorus was king of Media, now apparently subject 
to the Parthians. Cf. Annals xii. and xv. 

68 



BOOK I. xxxix.-xL. 

without Galba's knowledge^, considered killing Titus 
Vinius, either to appease the angry spirits of the 
soldiers by his punishment or because he believed 
him privy to Otho's plans, or finally simply because 
he hated him. Time and place, however, made him 
hesitate, because when once a massacre has been 
started, it is hard to check it ; moreover his plan 
was upset by disturbing reports and by the defection 
of his closest adherents, since the enthusiasm of all 
who at first had been eager to exhibit their loyalty 
and spirit was now weakening. 

XL. Galba was swept to and fro by the various 
movements of the surging mob ; crowds everywhere 
filled the public halls and temples, contemplating 
the grim spectacle. Neither the common people 
nor the rabble uttered a word, but their faces showed 
their terror and they turned their ears to catch 
every sound ; there was no uproar, no quiet, but such 
a silence as accompanies great fear and great anger. 
Yet Otho received a report tliat the rabble was 
being armed ; he ordered his adherents to go with 
all haste and anticipate the danger. So Roman 
soldiers rushed on as if they were going to drive a 
Vologaesus or a Pacorus from the ancestral throne 
of the Arsacidae^ and were not hurrying to slay 
their own emperor — an old man all unarmed. They 
thrust aside the rabble, trampled down senators ; 
terrifying men by their arms, they burst into the 
forum at full gallop. Neither the sight of the 
Capitol nor the sanctity of the temples which 
towered above them, nor the thought of emperors 
past and to come, could deter them from committing 
a crime which any successor to the imperial power 
must punish. 

69 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

XLI. Viso comminus armatorum agmine vexil- 
larius comitatae Galbam cohortis (Atilium Vergilio- 
nem fuisse tradunt) dereptam Galbae imaginem solo 
adflixit ; eo signo manifesta in Othonem omnium 
niilitum studia^ desertum fuga populi forum, 
destricta ad versus dubitantis tela. luxta Curtii la- 
cum trepidatione ferentium Galba proiectus e sella 
ac provolutus est. Extremam eius vocem, ut cuique 
odium aut admiratio fuit, varie prodidere.^ Alii 
suppliciter interrogasse quid mali meruisset, paucos 
dies exsolvendo donativodeprecatum : plures obtulisse 
ultro percussoribus iugulum : agerent ac ferirent, si 
ita e^ re publica videretur. Non interfuit occidentium 
quid diceret. De percussore non satis constat : 
quidam Tcrentium evocatum, alii Laecanium ; cre- 
brior fama tradidit Camurium quintae decimae 
legionis militem impresso gladio iugulum eius hau- 
sisse. Ceteri crura bracliiaque (nam pectus tege- 
batur) foede laniavere ; pleraque vulnera feritate et 
saevitia trunco iam corpori adiecta. 

XLII. Titum inde Vinium invasere, de quo et 
ipso ambigitur consumpseritne vocem eius instans 
metus, an proclamaverit non esse ab Othone man- 
datum ut occideretur. Quod seu finxit formidine 
seu conscientiam ^ coniurationis confessus est, hue 



^ prodere M. ^ e om. M. 

' conscientiam Acidalivs : conscientia M. 



' At this time an enclosed spot in the forum. 
70 



BOOK 1. xu.-XLii. 

XLI. When he saw the armed force close upon 
him, the standard-bearer of the cohort escorting 
Galba — it is said that his name was AtiHiis Vergilio — 
tore Galba's portrait from the standard and tlirew 
it on tlie ground. This signal made the feeling of 
all the soldiers for Otho evident; the people fled 
and deserted the forum ; if any hesitated, the 
troops threatened them with their weapons. It was 
near the Lacus Curtius ^ that Galba was thrown 
from his chair and rolled on the ground by his panic- 
stricken carriers. His last words have been variously 
reported according to the hatred or admiration of 
individuals ; some say that he asked in an a|ipealing 
tone what harm he had done and begged for a few 
days to pay the donative ; many report that he 
voluntarily offered his throat to his assassins, telling 
them to strike quickly, if such actions were for the 
state's interest. His murderers cared nothing for 
what he said. About the actual assassin nothing 
certain is known : some say that he was one Teren- 
tius of tlie reserve forces, others that his name was 
Laecanius ; a more common story is that a soldier 
of the Fifteenth legion, Camurius by name, pierced 
his throat with a thrust of his sword. Tiie rest 
shamefully mutilated his legs and arms, for his 
breast was protected, and in their cruel savagery 
they continued to inflict many wounds on his body 
even after his head had been cut off. 

XLU. Then they attacked Titus Vinius. In his 
case also there is a question whether his terror of 
instant death deprived him of speech or whether 
he cried out that Otlio had not given orders for his 
death. He may have invented this statement in 
his fear, or he may have thus confessed his com- 

71 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

potius eius vita famaque inclinat, ut conscius scele- 
ris fuerit cuius causa erat. Ante aedem divi lulii 
iacuit primo ictu in poplitem, mox ab lulio Caro ^ 
legionario milite in utiumque latus transverberatus. 

XLIII. Insignem ilia die virum Sempronium 
Densum aetas nostra vidit. Centurio is praetoriae 
cohortis, a Galba custodiae Pisonis ^ additus, stricto 
pugione occurrens annatis et scelus exprobrans ac 
modo manu modo voce vertendo in se percussores 
quamquam vulnerato Pisoni eft'ugium dedit. Piso 
in aedem V'estae pervasit, exceptusque niisericoidia 
publici servi et contubernio eius abditus noii religione 
nee caerimoniis sed latebra imminens exitium 
differebat, cum advenere missu Othonis nominatim 
in caedem eius ardentis Sulpicius Florus e Rritan- 
nicis cohortibus, nuper a Galba civitate donatus, et 
Statius Murcus speculator, a quibus protractus 
Piso in foribus templi trucidatur. 

XLIV. Nullam caedem Otho maiore laetitia ex- 
cepisse, nullum caput tam insatiabilibus oculis 
perlustrasse dicitur, seu turn primum levata omni 
sollicitudine mens vacare g^udio coeperat, seu 
recordatio maiestatis in Galba, amicitiae in Tito 
Vinio quamvis immitem animum imagine tristi con- 

1 Caro Rhenanics: cario M. 
^ a galbae c. a pisonis M. 

72 



BOOK I. xLii.-XLiv. 

plicity in the plot ; but his Ufe and reputation incline 
us rather to believe that he was j)rivy to the crime 
of which he was the cause. He fell in front of the 
temple of the deified Julius at the first blow, which 
struck him in the back of the knee ; afterwards he 
was run clean through the body by a legionary, 
Julius Carus. 

XLIII. A noble hero on that day our own age 
beheld in the person of Sempronius Densus. He 
was a centurion of a praetorian cohort whom Galba 
had assigned to protect Piso ; he drew his dagger, 
rushed to meet the armed men, upbraided them for 
their crime, and drawing the attention of the assassins 
to himself by act and word, gave Piso a chance to 
escape, although he was wounded. Piso Hed into 
the temple of Vesta, where he was received through 
the pity of one of the public slaves who hid him in 
his chamber. It was the obscurity of his hiding- 
place and not some scruple about the sacred spot 
or its rites that delayed for a time the end that 
threatened him ; but presently, despatched by Otho 
who was consumed with a desire for Piso's death 
above all others, there arrived Sulpicius Florus of 
the British auxiliaries, recently enfranchised by 
Galba, and Statius Murcus of the bodyguard ; these 
dragged Piso out and slew him at the door of the 
temple. 

XLIV. No other murder, according to report, 
gave Otho greater joy ; on no other head did he 
gaze with such insatiable eyes. The reason may 
have been that now his mind was first free from 
anxiety and so open to joy, or else that in the case 
of Galba the memory of his treason, and in the case 
of Titus Vinius the recollection of his friendship, 

73 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

fuderat, Pisonis ut inimici et aemuli caede laetari 
ius fasque credebat. Praefixa contis capita gesta- 
bantur inter signa cohortium iiixta aquilam legioiiis, 
certatim ostentantibus cnientas manus qui occiderant, 
qui interfuerantj qui vere qui falso ut pulchrum et 
memorabile facinus iactabant. Plures quam centum 
viginti libellos praemium exposcentium ob aliquam 
notabilem ilia die operam Vitellius postea invenit, 
omnisque conquiri et interfici iussit, non honori ^ 
Galbae, sed tradito principibus more munimentumad 
praesens, in posterum ultionem. 

XLV. Alium crederes senatum, alium populum : 
ruere cuncti in castra, anteire proximos, certare cum 
praecurrentibus, increpare Galbam, laudare militum 
iudicium, exosculari Otlionis manum ; quantoque 
magis falsa erant quae fiebant,^ tanto j)lura facere. 
Nee aspernabatur singulos Otho, avidum et mina- 
ccm militum animum voce vultuque temperans. 
Marium Celsum, consulem designatum et Galbae 
usque in extremas res amicum fidumque, ad^ sup- 
plicium expostulabant, industriae eius innocentiaeque 
quasi malis artibus infensi. Caedis et praedarum 
initium et optimo cuique perniciem quaeri apparebat, 
sed Othoni nondum auctoritas inerat ad prohiben- 
dum scelus : iubere iam poterat. Ita simulatione 



^ honori Xipperdcy : honore M. 
* flebant M. ^ ad ora. M. 



74 



BOOK I. XLiv-xLv. 

distressed with gloomy visions even his cruel mind ; 
but over the murder of Piso, his enemy and rival, 
he thought it lawful and right to rejoice. The 
victims' heads were displayed on poles among the 
standards of the cohorts side by side with the eagle 
of the legion, while those who had committed the 
murders, those who had been present, and those 
who, whether truly or falsely, boasted of their share 
in what they regarded as a splendid and memorable 
act, vied in exhibiting their bloody hands. More 
than one hundred and twenty petitions demanding 
rewards for some notable deed done that day were 
afterwards found by Vitellius ; their authors he 
ordered to be hunted out and killed without excep- 
tion, not that he wished to honour Galba, but he 
acted according to the traditional custom of emperors 
in thus securing protection for the time being and 
vengeance for the future. 

XLV. The senate and the people seemed wliolly 
changed: all rushed to the camp, striving to pass 
those next them and to overtake those before ; they 
inveighed against Galba, praised the soldiers' decision, 
covered Otho's hand with kisses, the extravagance of 
their acts being in direct jiroportion to their falsity. 
Otho did not rebuff individuals, while he sought to 
check the eager and threatening temper of the soldiers 
by his words and look. They demanded for punishment 
Marius Celsus, consul elect, who had been Galba's 
faithful friend even to the very end ; for they hated 
his energy and upright character as if they wei"e 
vicious qualities. It was clear that they wished to 
begin murder, plunder, and the destruction of every 
honest citizen, but Otho had not yet the influence 
to forbid crimes : he could, however, already order 

75 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

irae vinciri iussum et maiores poenas daturum adfir- 
mans praesenti exitio ^ subtraxit. 

XLVI. Omnia deinde arbitrio militum acta : prae- 
torii praefectos sibi ipsi legere, Plotium Firmum e 
manipularibus quondam, turn vigil ibus praepositum 
et incolumi adhuc Galba partis Othonis secutum ; 
adiungitur Licinius Proculus, intima familiaritate 
Othonis suspectus consilia eius fovisse. Urbi Fla- 
vium Sabinum praefecere, iudicium Neronis secuti, 
sub quo eandem curam obtinuerat, plerisque Vespa- 
sianum fratrem in eo respicientibus. Flagitatum ut 
vacationes praestari centurionibus solitae remitte- 
rentur ; namque gregarius miles ut tributum annuum 
pendebat. Quarta pars manipuli sjiarsa ^ per comme- 
atus aut in ipsis castris vaga, dum mercedem centu- 
rioni exsolveret, neque moduni oneris quisquam neque 
genus quaestus pensi habebat : per latrocinia et 
raptus aut servilibus ministeriis militare otium redi- 
mebant. Turn locupletissimus quisque miles labore 
ac saevitia fatigari donee vacationem emeret. Ubi 
sumptibus exhaustus socordia insuper elanguerat, 
inops pro locuplete et iners pro strenuo in ma- 
nipulum redibat, ac rursus alius atque alius, eadem 
egestate ac licentia corrupti, ad seditiones et dis- 
cordias et ad extremum bella civilia ruebant. Sed 
Otho ne vul^i largitione centurionum animos 



'■ aiixilio J/: exilio J/^ 

^ niaflipuli sparsa Pichena : manipuli pars M. 



76 



BOOK I. xr.v.-XLVi. 

them. Tlierefore, pretending to be angry, he ordered 
the arrest of Celsus, and by declaring that he was 
to suffer severer punishment, saved him from 
immediate death. 

XLVI. The soldiers' will was henceforth supreme. 
The praetorians chose their own prefects, — Plotius 
Firmus, formerly a common soldier, but later chief of 
the city police, and a partisan of Otho even while 
Galba lived ; as his associate they gave him Licinius 
Proculus, whose intimacy with Otho made men 
suspect that he had favoured his plans. As Prefect 
of the City they selected Flavius Sabinus, thus 
following Nero's choice, for Sabinus had held the same 
office under Nero, while many in doing so had an eye 
on his brother Vespasian. The troops also demanded 
that the payments usually made to centurions to secure 
furloughs should be abolished, since they amounted 
to an annual tax on the common soldiers. A quarter 
of each company would be away on furlough or 
loafing about the camp itself, provided the soldiers 
paid the centurion his price, and no one cared how 
the burden pressed on the soldiers or how thev got 
their money; in reality it was through highway 
robbery, petty thieving, and by menial occupations 
that the soldiers purchased rest from military service. 
Moreover the richest soldiers would be cruelly 
assigned to the most fatiguing labour until they 
bought relief. Then, impoverished and demoralized 
by idleness, the soldier would return to his company 
poor instead of well-to-do and lazy instead of ener- 
getic ; so ruined one after another by the same 
poverty and lack of discipline, they were ready to rush 
into mutiny and dissension, and finally into civil war. 
But Otho wished to avoid alienating the centurions 

77 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

averteret/ fiscum suum vacationes annuas exsolutunim 
promisit, rem hand dubie utilem et a bonis postea 
principibus perpetuitate disciplinae firmatam. Laco 
praefectuSj tamquam in insulam seponeretur, ab 
evocato, quern ad caedem eius Otho praemiserat, 
confossus ; in Marcianum Icelum ut in libertum 
palam animadversum. 

XLVII. Exacto per scelera die novissimum nialo- 
rum fuit laetitia. V'ocaf- senatum praetor urbanus, 
certant adulationibus ceteri magistratus, adcurrunt 
patres : decernitur Othoni tribunicia potestas et 
nomen Augusti et omnes principum honores, adni- 
tentibiis cuncLis abolere convicia ac probra, quae 
promisee iacta haesisse animo eius nemo sensit ; 
omisisset oft'ensas ^ an distulisset brevitate imperii in 
incerto fuit. Otho cruento adliuc foro per stragem 
iacentiuni in Capitolium atque inde in Palatium 
vectus concedi corpora sepultuiae cremarique pcr- 
misit. Pisonem Verania uxor ac frater Scribonianus, 
Titum Vinium Crispina filia composuerCj quaesitis 
redemptisque capitibus, quae venalia interfectores 
servaverant. 

XLVTII. Piso unum et tricensimum aetatis annum 
explebat, fama meliore quam fortuna. Fratres eius 
Magnum Claudius, Crassum Nero interfecerant : ipse 
diu ex 111, quadriduo Caesar, properata adoptione ad 

^ averteret 7. Gronorius : averteret et M. 
^ vacat J/. ^ omisisse tot fensas M. 

^ Both the consuls, Galba and Vinius, were now dead. 

* Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus had married the emperor 
Claudius's daughter Antonia in 41, but within six years he 
was put to death. Marcus Licinius Crassus Frugi was charged 
with treason by the notorious Marcus Aquilius Regulus and 
executed between 66 and 68. Cf. iv. 42. 

78 



BOOK I. xLvi.-xi.viii. 

by generosity to the rank and file, and so he promised 
that the imperial treasury should pay for the annual 
furloughs, a procedure which was undoubtedly useful 
and which later was established by good emperors 
as a fixed rule of the service. The prefect Laco^ who 
had been ostensibly banished to an island, was assassi- 
nated by a retired soldier whom Otho had despatched 
to kill him. Marcianus Icelus, being only a freedman, 
was publicly executed. 

XLVII. The day was spent in crimes, and the 
worst evil was the joy felt over the crimes. The 
senate was called together by the city praetor;^ the 
other magistrates vied in flattery ; the senators 
hurried to their places, and voted Otho the tribunitian 
power, the title Augustus, and all the honours granted 
tile other emperors ; for all did their best to blot out 
the memory of their former abuse and insults, nor 
did anyone discover to his sorrow that these random 
utterances had found lodgment in Otho's mind ; 
whether he had forgotten them or put off his vengeance 
his reign was too short to show. He was then carried 
through the heaps of dead bodies, while the forum 
still reeked with l)lood, first to the Capitol and then to 
the Palatine ; after that he allowed the bodies to be 
given up for burial and burning. Piso was laid to 
rest by his wife \'erania and his brother Scribonianus, 
Titus Vinius by his daughter Crispina, after they 
had discovered and redeemed their heads, which the 
assassins had kept for profit. 

XLVII I. Piso was near the end of his thirty-first 
year; his reputation had been better than his 
fortune. His brother Magnus had been put to death 
by Claudius, his brother Crassus by Nero.^ He him- 
self, long an exile, was Caesar for four days; the 

79 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

hoc tantum maiori fratri praelatus est ut prior occi- 
deretur. Titus \ inius quinquaginta septem annos 
variis moribus egit. Pater illi praetoria familia, 
maternus avus e proscriptis. Prima militia infamis : 
legatum Calvisium Sabinum liabuerat, cuius uxor 
mala cupidine visendi situm castrorum, per noctem 
militari habitu ingressa, cum vigilias et cetera 
militiae munia eadem lascivia temptasset/ in ipsis 
principiis stuprum ausa, et criminis huius reus Titus 
Vinius arguebatur. Igitur iussu G. Caesaris oneratus 
catenis, mox mutatione temporum dimissus, cursu 
honorum inofFenso legioni post praeturam praepo- 
situs probatusque servili deinceps probro respersus 
est tamquam scyphum aureum in convivio Claudii 
furatus, et Claudius postera die soli omnium Vinio 
fictilibus ministrari iussit. Sed Vilnius proconsulatu 
Galliam Narbonensem severe integreque rexit ; mox 
Galbae amicitia in abruptum tractus, audax, callidus, 
promptus et^ prout animum intendisset, pravus aut 
industrius, eadem vi; Testamentum Titi V'inii ma- 
gnitudine opum inritum, Pisonis supremam volun- 
tatem paupertas firmavit. 

XLIX. Galbae corpus diu neglectum et licentia 
tenebravum plurimis ludibriis vexatum dispensator 

^ temptasset Puteolanus : teniperasset M. 

^ Under the second triumvirate in 43 B.C. Cf. Dio C. 
xlvii. 7. 

^ That is, the emperor's cupidit}' disregarded the provisions 
of the will. 

80 



BOOK I. xLviii.-xLix. 

only advantage he gained over his elder brother by 
his hasty adoption was that he was killed before him. 
Titus Vinius lived fifty-seven years ; his character 
varied at different times. His father was of a 
praetorian family, his maternal grandfather one of 
the proscribed.^ He had disgraced himself in his 
first military service under the legate Calvisius 
Sabinus, whose wife, prompted by a shameful desire 
to see the camp, entered it at night disguised as a 
soldier. After she had interfered with the guard 
and the other soldiers on duty with unfailing 
effrontery, she had the hardihood to commit adultery 
in the general's headquarters. Titus Vinius was 
charged with complicity in this crime and therefore 
was ordered by Caligula to be heavily loaded with 
chains. Later, when times changed, he was released; 
and then, advancing in office without interruption, 
he was appointed to the command of a legion after 
he had been praetor; and though he won success in 
this position, he later smirched his reputation by an act 
worthy of a slave ; for he was charged with stealing a 
golden cup at a dinner given by Claudius, so that 
the next day Claudius ordered Vinius alone to be 
served with earthenware. liut as proconsul of Gallia 
Narbonensis, Vinius ruled his province with strict- 
ness and honesty. Later, through friendship with 
Galba lie was carried to a dangerous height. He 
was bold, cunning, efficient, wicked or virtuous, 
according to his inclination at the time ; but he always 
showed the same vigour. His great riches made his 
will void, 2 but Piso's poverty secured the fulfilment 
of his last wishes. 

XLIX. Galba's body was long neglected and 
abused with a thousand insults under the licence of 

8i 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Argius e prioribus servis humili sepultura in privatis 
eius hortis contexit. Caput per lixas calonesque 
suffixum laceratumque ante Petrobii tumulum (li- 
bertus is Neronis punitus a Galba fuerat) postera 
demum die repertum et cremato iam corpori admix- 
tum est. Hunc exitum habuit Servius Galba, 
tribus et septuaginta annis quinque principes pro- 
spera fortuna emensus et alieno imperio felicior 
quam suo. Vetus in familia nobilitas, niagnae opes: 
ipsi medium ingenium, magis ^ extra vitia quam cum 
virtutibus. Famae nee incuriosus nee venditator ; 
pecuniae alienae non adpetens, suae parcus, publicae 
avarus ; amicorum libertorumque, ubi in bonos inci- 
disset, sine reprehensione patiens, si mali forent, 
usque ad culpam ignarus. Sed claritas natalium et 
metus temporum obtentui, ut, quod segnitia erat, 
sapientia vocaretur. Dum vigebat aetas militari 
laude apud Germanias floruit. Pro consule Africam 
moderate, iam senior citeriorem Hispaniam pari 
iustitia continuit, maior privato visus dum privatus 
fuit, et omnium consensu capax imperii nisi 
imperasset. 

L. Trepidam urbem ac simul atrocitatem recentis 

^ magnis M. 

^ According to Plutarch, Gaiba 28, this office was per- 
formed by the famous Helvidius Priscus. 

82 



BOOK I. xi.ix.-L. 

darkness. Finally Argius, his steward, one of liis 
former slaves, gave it humble burial in his master's 
private garden. Galba's head, which had been fixed 
on a pole and maltreated by camp-followers and 
servants, was finally found the next day before the 
tomb of Petrobius — he was one of Nero's freedmen 
whom Galba had punished — and was placed with the 
body which had already been burned. ^ This was 
the end of Servius Galba. He had lived seventy- 
three years, through the reigns of five emperors, 
with good fortune, and he was happier under the 
rule of others than in his own. His family was of 
the ancient nobility and jiossessed great wealth. 
Galba himself was of mediocre genius, being rather 
free from faults than possessing virtues. He was 
neither careless of reputation nor one who cared to 
boast of it. He was not greedy for another's 
property ; he was frugal with his own, stingy with 
the state's. Kindly and complacent toward friends 
and freedmen, if he found them honest ; if they were 
dishonest, he was blind even to a fault. But his 
high birth and the terror which the times inspired 
masked the truth, so that men called wisdom 
what was really indolence. While he was vigorous 
physically, he enjoyed a reputation for his military 
service in the German provinces. As proconsul he 
governed Africa with moderation and, when he was 
already an old man, ruled Hither Spain with the 
same uprightness. He seemed too great to be a 
subject so long as he was subject, and all would 
have agreed that he was equal to the imperial office 
if he had never held it. 

L. Rome was in a state of excitement and horror- 
stricken not only at the recent outrageous crime, 

83 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

sceleris, simul veteres Othonis mores paventem 
novus insuper de Vitellio nuntius exterruit, ante 
caedem Galbae suppressus ut tantum superioris 
Germaniae exercitum descivisse crederetur. Turn 
duos omnium mortalium impudicitia ignavia luxuria 
deterrimos velut ad perdendum imperium falaliter 
electos non senatus modo et eques, quis aliqua pars 
et cura rci publicae, sed vulgus quoque palam 
maerere. Nee iam recentia saevae pacis exempla 
sed repetita bellorum civilium memoria captam 
totiens suis exercitibus urbem, vastitatem Italiae, 
direptiones provinciarum, Pharsaliam Philippos et 
Perusiam ac Mutinam, nota publicarum cladium 
nomina, loquebantur. Prope eversum orbem etiam 
cum de principatu inter bonos certaretur, sed man- 
sisse G. lulio, mansisse Caesare Augusto victore 
imperium ; mansuram fuisse sub Pompeio Brutoque 
rem publicam : nunc pro Otlione an pro Vitellio in 
templa ituros ? utrasque impias preces, utraque 
detestanda vota inter duos, quorum bello solum id 
scires, deteriorem fore qui vicisset. Erant qui Ves- 
pasianum et arma Orientis augurarentur, et ut 
potior utroque Vespasianus, ita bellum aliud atque 
alias cladis horrebant. Et ambigua de Vespasiano 

1 Cf. chap. 14. 
84 



BOOK I. L. 

but also at the thought of Otho's former character. 
Now it was terrified in addition by news with regard 
to Vitellius, which had been suppressed before 
Galba's death, so that the citizens beUeved that 
only the army of Upper Germany had mutinied. ^ 
Then the thought that two men, the worst in the 
world for their shamelessness, indolence, and pro- 
fligacy, had been apparently chosen by fate to ruin 
the empire, caused open grief not only to the 
senators and knights who had some share and 
interest in the state, but even to the common 
people. Their talk was no longer of the recent 
horrors of a bloody })eace, but they recalled 
memories of the civil Avars and spoke of the many 
times the city had been captured by Roman armies, 
of the devastation of Italy, of the plundering of the 
provinces, of Pharsalia, Philippi, Perusia, and Mutina, 
names notorious for public disaster. They said that 
the world had been well-nigh overturned, even when 
the principate was the prize of honest men ; but 
yet the empire had remained when Julius Caesar 
won, and had likewise remained when Augustus 
won ; the republic would have remained if Pompey 
and Brutus had been successful ; but now — should 
they go to the temples to pray for an Otho or a 
Vitellius .'' Prayers for either would be impious 
and vows for either detestable when, in the struggle 
between the two, the only thing of which men were 
certain was that the victor would be the worse. There 
were some who had forebodings of Vespasian and 
the armies in the East, and yet although Vespasian 
was a better man than Otho or Vitellius, they 
shuddered at another war and another massacre. 
Indeed Vespasian's reputation was uncertain ; he, 

85 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

fama, sohisque omnium ante se principum in melius 
mutatus ^ est. 

LI. Nunc initia causasque motus Vitelliani expe- 
diam. Caeso cum omnibus copiis lulio Vindice 
ferox praeda gloriaque exercitus, ut cui sine labore 
ac periculo ditissimi belli victoria evenisset, expedi- 
tionem et aciem, praemia quam stipendia malebat. 
Diu infructuosam et asperam militiam toleraverant 
ingenio loci caelique et severitate disciplinae, quam 
in pace inexorabilem discordiae civium resolvunt, 
paratis utrimque corruptoribus et perfidia impunita. 
Viri, arma, equi ad usum et ad decus^ supererant. 
Sed ante bellum centurias tantum suas turmasque 
noverant ; exercitus finibus provinciarum discerne- 
bantur : turn adversus Vindicem contractae ^ legiones, 
seque et Gallias expertae, quaerere rursus arma 
novasque discordias ; nee socios, ut olim, sed hostis 
et victos vocabant. Nee deerat pars Galliarum, 
quae Rhenum* accolit, easdem partis secuta ac tum 
acerrima instigatrix adversum Galbianos ; hoc enim 
nomen fastidito Vindice indiderant. Igitur Sequanis 
Aeduisque ac deinde, prout opulentia civitatibus 

1 principum Imelius mutus M. 

^ dedecus M. 

^ contractae Rhenanus : confractae M. 

* qua herenum M. 

^ The Sequani lived in Franche-Comte, Burgundy, and 
part of Alsace, having as their capital Vensontio {Besan9on). 
The Aeduans were between the Saone and the Loire. Their 
capital was Augustodunum (Autun). 

86 



BOOK I. L.-Li. 

unlike all his predecessors, was the only emperor 
who was changed for the better by his office. 

LI. I will now relate the origin and causes of the 
revolt of Vitellius. After Julius Vindex had been 
slain and all his forces with him, the army, flushed 
with joy over the booty and glory it had won, as 
was natural since it had secured a very rich victory 
without effort or danger, preferred to advance and 
fight, to secure rewards rather than mere pay. The 
soldiers had long endured a profitless service which 
was severe because of the character of the district 
and of the climate, and also because discipline was 
strict. But discipline which is stern in time of 
peace is broken down by civil strife, for there are 
men on both sides ready to corruj)t, and treacliery 
goes unpunished. The army had men, weapons, 
and horses in abundance for use and for show, but 
before the war the soldiers had been acquainted 
with only their own centuries and squadrons, for the 
armies were then separated by the boundaries of 
the provinces. But at that time the legions had 
been mobilized against Vindex, so that they had 
become acquainted with their own strength and 
that of the Gallic provinces. Therefore they were 
again looking for war and new quarrels ; they no 
longer called the Gauls "allies" as before, but 
"enemies" and "the defeated." In fact that part 
of the Gallic provinces which borders the Rhine had 
not failed to attach itself to the same party and at 
this time was most vigorous in urging the soldiers 
on against "the Galbans," for they had given them 
this name in scorn of Vindex. Accordingly, being 
hostile first of all towards the Sequani and the 
Aeduans,^ and then towards other states in pro- 

87 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

erat, iufensi expugnationes uibium^ populationes 

agrorum, raptus penatium hauserunt animo, super 

avaritiam et adrogantiam, ])raecipua validiorum vitia, 

contumacia Gallorum inritali^ qui remissam sibi a 

Galba quartam tdbutorum partem et publice donates 

in ignominiam exercitus iactabant. Accessit callide 

vulgatum^ temere creditum, decimari legiones et 

promptissimum quemque centurionum dimitti. Undi- 

que atroces nuntii, sinistra ex urbe fama ; infensa 

Lugdunensis colonia et pertinaci pro Nerone fide 

fecunda^ rumoribus ; sed plurima ad fingendum ere- 

dendumque materies in ipsis castris, odio inetu et, 

ubi viris suas respexerant, securitate. 

LII. Sub ipsas superioris anni kalendas Decembris 

Aulus Vitellius inferiorem Germaniam ingressus hi- 

berna legionum cum cura adierat : redditi plerisque 

ordines, remissa ignominia, adlevatae notae ; plura 

arabitione, quaedam iudicio, in quibus sordes- et 

avaritiam Fontei Capitonis adimendis adsignandisve 

militiae ordinibus integre mutaverat. Nee consula- 

ris legati mensura sed in maius omnia accipiebantur. 

Et ut^ Vitellius apud severos humilis, ita comitatem 

bonitatemque faventes vocabant, quod sine modo, 

^ facunda 31. 

* sordes Acidalixis : sorde M. 

^ ut add. Rhenanus. 

88 



BOOK I. Li.-Lii. 

portion to their wealth, their souls thirsted for the 
storming of cities, the ravaging of fields, and the 
looting of houses. Their irritation arose not simply 
from greed and arrogance — faults especially common 
to the stronger — but also from the insolent spirit 
of the Gauls, who as an insult to the army boasted 
that Galba had remitted a quarter of their tribute 
and had rewarded them as communities. There 
was, too, a rumour cleverly spread abroad and rashly 
believed, that the legions were being decimated and 
the most active centurions dismissed. From every 
side came alarming messages and from Rome dis- 
turbing reports ; the colony of Lyons was hostile 
and, owing to its persistent loyalty to Nero, was 
filled with rumours ; but the amplest material for 
imagination and credulity was to be found within 
the camp itself in the soldiers' hatreds, in their 
fears, and also, when they considered their own 
strength, in their self-confidence. 

LII. About the first of December in the preceding 
year Aulus Vitellius had entered Lower Germany 
and carefully inspected the winter quarters of the 
legions. Many of the troojis had their ranks 
restored, their disgrace removed, the marks against 
them cancelled. He did much for his selfish ends, 
but some things with sound judgment; among these 
was the honest change he made from the meanness 
and greed which Fonteius Capito had shown in 
taking away or bestowing military rank. The acts of 
Vitellius were not regarded as those simply of a con- 
sular legate, but without exception were taken to 
be more significant ; and while the strict thought 
Vitellius demeaned himself, his partisans called it 
affability and kindness where he gave away his own 

8g 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

sine iudicio donaret sua, largiretur aliena ; simul 
aviditate imperitandi ^ ipsa vitia pro virtutibus inter- 
pretabantur. Multi in utroque exercitu sicut mo- 
desti quietique ita mali et strenui. Sed profusa 
cupidine et insigni temeritate legati legionum Ali- 
enus Caecina et Fabius Valens ; e quibus Valens 
infensus Galbae, tamquam detectam a se Verginii 
cunctationem, oppressa Capitonis consilia ingrate 
tulisset, instigare Vitellium, ardorem militum osten- 
tans : ipsum celebri ubique fama, nullam in Flacco 
Hordeonio moram ; adfore Britanniam, secutura 
Germanorum auxilia : male fidas provincias, preca- 
rium seni imperium et brevi transiturum : pandetet 
modo sinum et venienti Fortunae occurreret. Merito 
dubitasse Verginium equestri familia, ignoto patre, 
imparem si recepisset imperium, tutum si recusasset : 
Vitellio tris patris consulatus, censuram, collegium 
Caesaris et imponere iam pridem imperatoris digna- 
tionem et auferre privati securitatem. Quatiebatur 
his segne ingenium ut concupisceret magis quam ut 
speraret. 

LIII. At in superiore Germania Caecina, decorus^ 
iuventa, corpore ingens, animi immodicus, scito ^ ser- 

1 imperitandi Fisher : imperandi M. 

2 decorus Baiter : decori M. 
^ scito Lipsius : cito M. 

' Caecina was stationed in Upper Germany, Valens in 
Lower. 

* See chaps. 8 and 9 above. 

* Hordeonius was commander in Upper Germany. 

* Vitellius's father had been consul in 34 ; under Claudius 
he was associated with the emperor in this office in 43 and 
47, and also shared the censorship with Claudius in the 
last year. 

90 



BOOK I. ui.-iiii. 

property without limit and without judgment and 
squandered what belonged to others ; at the same 
time their greed for power made them translate his 
very faults into virtues. There were many in both 
armies obedient and law-abiding, as well as many 
unprincipled and energetic. But the commanders 
of the legions, Alienus Caecina and Fabius Valens, 
were men of boundless greed and extraordinary 
recklessness.^ Valens was hostile to Galba, because 
Galba had treated with ingratitude his disclosure 
of V\M-ginius's hesitation - and his crushing of 
Capito's plans. He began to urge Vitellius on and 
to point out to him the eager spirit of the soldiers, 
saying that he enjoyed great fame everywhere, that 
Flaccus Hordeonius-* would give no occasion for 
delay, that Britain would join him, the German 
auxiliaries follow his standard ; the loyalty of the 
provinces he declared weak, the old emperor's rule 
precarious and sure soon to pass; let him but open 
his arms and hurry to meet a})proaching fortune. 
He maintained that Verginius had hesitated with 
good reason, for he was of equestrian family, his 
father was unknown and he would have been un- 
e([ual to the office if he had got the imperial power, 
but safe if he refused it ; but to Vitellius, his 
father's three consulships and the censorship in which 
he had Caesar as colleague^ had long since given 
him imperial dignity and had taken away from him 
the security of a subject. These arguments stirred 
his sluggish nature to covetousness rather than to 
hope. 

LI II. But in Upper Germany, Caecina, a hand- 
some young man of towering stature and boundless 
ambition, had won over the support of the soldiers 

91 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

mone, erecto incessu, stiulia militum inlexerat. 
Hunc iuvenem Galba^ quaestorein in Baetica imjiigre 
in partis suas transgressum, legioni praeposuit : mox 
compertuni publicam pecuniam avertisse ut pecula- 
torem flagitari iussit. Caecina aegre passus miscere 
cuncta et privata vulnera rei publicae malis operire 
statuit. Nee deerant in exercitu semina discordiae, 
quod et bello ad\ ersus Vindicein uni\ ersus adfuerat, 
nee nisi occiso Nerone translatus in Galbam atque 
in eo ipso sacramento vexillis infei-ioris Germaniae 
praeventus erat. Et Treviri ac Lingones, quasque 
alias civitates atrocibus edictis aut damno finium 
Galba pereulerat, hibernis legionum propius miscen- 
tur : unde seditiosa colloquia et inter paganos cor- 
ruptior miles ; et in Verginium favor cuicumque alii 
profuturus. 

LIV. Miserat eivitas Lingonum vetere instituto 
dona legionibus dextras, hospitii insigne. Legati 
eorum in squalorem maestitiamque conipositi per 
principia per eontubernia modo suas ^ iniurias, modo 
vicinarum civitatium praemia, et ubi pronis militum 
auribus accipiebantur, ipsius exercitus pericula et 
eontumelias conquerentes accendebant animos. Nee 

^ modo insuas M. 

^ The Treviri dwelt in the district about Treves, which 
preserves their name, as Langrcs recalls the Lingones. 

92 



BOOK I. Liii.-Liv. 

by his clever speech and dignified carriage. This 
youth Galba had put in command of a legion, for 
when he was quaestor in Baetica, he had not hesi- 
tated to join Galba's party. But later, when Galba 
found that he had embezzled public money, he 
ordered him to be prosecuted for peculation. Caecina 
took this hard and decided to embroil everything 
and conceal his private wounds amid the misfortunes 
of the state. And there were not lacking seeds 
of discord in the army, because it had taken part 
in full force in the war against V'index and had not 
gone over to Galba until Nero had been killed, and 
then had been anticipated in taking the oath of 
allegiance to Galba by some detachments from 
Lower German}'. The Treviri, too, and Lingones,^ 
as well as other states which Galba had punished 
with harsh edicts or loss of territory, were closely 
associated with the legions' winter quarters, with 
the result that there were seditious conferences and 
the soldiers were demoralized by mixing with the 
civilian inhabitants, and the attachment that they 
apparently showed Verginius was ready to be given 
to anyone else. 

LIV". The community of the Lingoncs, according 
to their ancient custom, had sent clasped right 
hands, an emblem of friendship, as gifts to the 
legions. Their envoys, assuming the appearance of 
poverty and sorrow, complained both at headquarters 
and in the messes of the common soldiers, now of 
their wrongs, again of the rewards given to neigli- 
bouring communities, and, when the soldiers were 
ready to lend a listening ear, of the dangers and the 
insults suffered by the army itself, and so inflamed 
the temper of the troops. In fact, they were not far 

93 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

procul seditione aberant cum Hordeonius Flaccus abire 
legates, utque occultior digressus esset, nocte castris 
excedere iubet. Inde atrox rumor, adfirmantibus 
])lerisque interfectos, ac ni sibi ipsi ^ consulerent, 
fore ut acerrimi militum et praesentia conquest! 
per tenebras et inscitiam ceterorum occiderentur. 
Obstringuntur inter se tacito foedere legiones, 
adsciscitur auxiliorum miles, primo suspectus tam- 
quam circunidatis cohortibus absque impetus in 
legiones pararetur, mox eadem acrius volvens, facili- 
ore inter malos consensu ad bellum quam in pace 
ad concordiam. 

LV. Inferioris tamen Germaniae legiones sollemni 
kalendarum lanuariarum sacramento pro Galba 
adactae, multa cunctatione et raris primorum ordi- 
numvocibus,ceteri silentio proximi cuiusque audaciam 
expectantes, insita mortalibus natura, jM'opere sequi 
quae piget inchoare. Sed ij)sis legionibus inerat 
diversitas animorum : primani quintanique turbidi 
adeo ut quidam saxa in Galbae imagines iecerint : 
quinta decima ac sexta decima legiones nihil idtra 
fremitum et minas ansae initium erumpendi circum- 
spectabant. At in superiore exercitu quarta ac 
duetvicensima legiones, isdem hil)ernis tendentes, 
ipso kalendarum lanuariarum die dirumpunt ima- 

^ ui sibi ipsi Halm : nisi ipsi M. 

^ Stationed at Bonn and Xanten (Vetera). 
^ At Xanten and Neuss (Novaesiuni). 
' At Mayence (Mogontiacum). 

94 



BOOK I. Liv.-Lv. 

from mutiny wlien Hordeonius Flacous ordered the 
envoys to leave and told them to go out of camp 
by night that their departure might be less notice- 
able. From this arose a disturbing report, for many 
maintained that the envoys had been killed ; and it 
was urged that if the soldiers did not take thought for 
themselves, the most energetic among them and 
those who complained of present conditions would 
be put to death under the cover of darkness without 
tlie knowledge of their fellows. Thereupon the 
legions bound themselves by a secret oath ; the 
auxiliary soldiers joined them. These had been at 
first suspected of planning to attack the legions, 
because their infantry and cavalry had surrounded 
the camp ; but presently they showed themselves 
more zealous in the same cause ; for the wicked 
conspire more readily to make war than to preserve 
harmony in time of peace. 

LV". Yet the legions of Lower Germany had 
taken the usual oath of allegiance to Galba on 
the first of January, although there was great 
hesitation and only a few in the front ranks re- 
peated it, while the rest silently waited, each on 
the courage of his neighbour, it being human nature 
to follow eagerly a course that one hesitates to 
begin. But there was a diversity of sentiment in 
the legions themselves. The First and Fifth ^ were 
so mutinous that some stoned Galba's "images. 
The Fifteenth and Sixteenth legions,- while daring 
to do nothing worse than murmur and threaten, 
were seeking some opening for an outbreak. In 
the Upper army, however, the Fourth and Twenty- 
second legions, who Avere wintering in the same 
camp,3 on the very first of January tore down the 

95 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

gines Galbae, quarta legio promptius, duetvicen- 
sima cunctanter, mox consensu. Ac ne reverentiam 
imperii exuere viderenturjSenatus populique Romani 
oblitterata iam nomina Sacramento advocabant, nullo 
legatorum tribunorumve pro Galba nitente, qui- 
busdam, ut in tumultu, notabilius turbantibus. Non 
tamen quisquam in modum contionis aut suggestu 
locutus ; neque enim erat adhuc cui imputaretur. 

LVI. Spectator flagitii Hordeonius Flaccus con- 
sularis legatus aderat, non compescere mentis, non 
retinere dubios, non cohortari bonos ausus, sed segnis 
pavidus et socordia innoeens. Quattuor centuriones 
duetvicensimae legionis, Nonius Receptus, Donatius 
Valens, Romilius Marcellus, Calpurnius Repentinus, 
cum protegerent Galbae imagines, impetu militum 
abrepti vinctique. Nee cuiquam ultra fides aut 
memoria prioris sacramenti, sed quod in seditionibus 
accidit, unde ^ plures erant omnes fuere. 

Nocte quae kalendas lanuarias secuta est in 
coloniam Agrippinensem aquilifer quartae legionis 
epulanti Vitellio nuntiat quartam et duetvicensimam 
legiones proiectis Galbae imaginibus in senatus ac 
populi Romani verba iurasse. Id sacramentum 
inane visum : occupari nutantem fortunam et ofFerri 
principem placuit. Missi a Vitellio ad legiones 

^ inde M. 

1 Agrippa had allowed the Ubii to move from the right to 
the left bank of the Rhine in 38 B.C. Their town, oppidum 
Ubiorum, became colmiia Clcntdia Augusta Agrippinensis 
(or Agrippinensiuvi) in 50 a.d. See Strabo is'. 3, 4 (194): 
Uio Cassius xlviii. 49, 3 ; Tac. Ann. xii. 27. 

96 



BOOK I. Lv.-Lvi. 

images of Galba, the Fourth legion with greater 
readiness, the Twenty-second witli hesitation at 
first, but presently in full accord ; and they called 
in their oath on the now forgotten names of the 
senate and Roman people that they might not seem 
to give up reverence for the empire. No one of 
the legates or tribunes made any effort in Galba's 
behalf; some, as is usual in an uproar, were con- 
spicuous in causing trouble. Yet no one addressed 
the soldiers in formal speech or from the tribunal, 
for there was no one as yet to whom claim for such 
service could be made, 

LVI. Hordeonius Flaccus, the consular legate, 
was a spectator of this disgraceful scene. He did 
not dare to check those who were in a fury or to 
restrain the doubtful or even to exhort the loyal, 
but he was slow to act, timid, and innocent only 
because of his sloth. Four centurions of the Twenty- 
second legion, Nonius Receptus, Donatius Valens, 
Romilius Marcellus, Calpurnius Repentinus, were 
swept away by the onrush of the soldiers when they 
tried to protect Galba's images, and were thrown 
into chains. No man had any loyalty or thought 
for his former oath, but as happens in mutinies all 
joined the majority. 

On the night which followed January first, an 
eagle-bearer of the Fourth legion came to Cologne ^ 
and reported to Vitellius at table that the Fourth 
and Twenty-second legions had thrown down Galba's 
statues and taken the oath of allegiance to the 
senate and the Roman people. Such an oath seemed 
idle ; they decided to seize fortune while in the 
balance and to offer an emperor to the soldiery. 
Vitellius sent men to the legions and legates to 

97 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

legatosque qui descivisse a Galba superiorem exer- 
citum nuntiarent : jiroinde aut bellandum adversus 
desciscentis aut, si concordia et pax placeat, faci- 
endum imperatorem : et minora discrimine sumi 
principem quam quaeri. 

LVII. Proxima legionis primae liiberna erant et 
promptissimus e legatis Fabius Valens. Is die 
postero coloniam Agrippinensem cum equitibus 
legionis auxiliariorumque ingressus ^ imperatorem 
Vitellium consalutavit. Secutae ingenti certaniine 
eiusdem provinciae legiones ; et superior exercitus, 
speciosis senatus populique Romani noniinibus relic- 
tis, tertium nonas lanuarias Vitellio accessit: scires 
ilium priore biduo non penes rem publicam fuisse. 
Ardorem exercituum Agrippinenses, Treviri, Lin- 
gones aequabant, auxilia equos, arma pecuniam 
offerentes, ut quisque corpore opibus ingenio validus.^ 
Nee principes modo coloniarum aut castrorum, quibus 
praesentia ex affluenti et parta victoria magnae spes, 
sed manipuli quoque et gregarius miles viatica sua 
et balteos phalerasque, insignia armorum argento 
decora, loco pecuniae tradebant, instinctu et impetu 
et avaritia. 

LV'III. Igitur laudata militum alacritate Vitellius 
niinisteria principatus per libertos agi solita in equites 
Romanes disponit, vacationes centurionibus et fisco 

^ gressus M. ^ validis M. 

* Corresponding to the medals of modern tiniea. 



BOOK I. Lvi.-Lviii. 

announce that tlie Upjier army had mutinied against 
Galba : therefore tliey must eitlier fight against the 
mutineers or, if they preferred harmony and peace, 
must take an emperor. There was less danger, he 
added, in accepting an emperor than in looking 
for one. 

LVII. The winter quarters of the First legion 
were nearest, and the most energetic of the com- 
manders was Fabius Valcns. The next day he 
entered Cologne with the horsemen of the legion 
and the auxiliary troops and saluted Vitellius as 
emperor. Tlie legions of the same province showed 
the greatest rivalry in following this example ; and 
the Upper army, abandoning the specious names 
of the senate and the Roman peoj)le, came over to 
Vitellius on the third of January, so that it was easy 
to realize that during the two ])receding days it had 
never been faithful to the state. The citizens of 
Cologne, the Treviri, the Lingones, showed the same 
enthusiasm as the army. Individuals offered their 
personal services, horses, arms, or money, according 
to the physical strength, wealth, or talent that each 
possessed. Not only the chief men of the colonies 
and camps who had present wealth in abundance and 
great hopes should they secure a victory, but also 
whole companies and common soldiers, prompted 
by excitement and enthusiasm and also hy greed, 
contributed their own spending money, or in place 
of money their belts and bosses, and the decorations 
of their armour^ adorned with silver. 

LVIII. Therefore Vitellius j)raised the eager spirit 
of the soldiers and then distributed the imperial 
offices which had been usually held by freedmen 
among Roman knights ; he also paid the fees for 

99 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

numerat, saevitiam militum plerosque ad poenam 
exposcentium saepius adprobat, raro^ simulatione 
vinculorum frustratur. Pompeius Propinquus pro- 
curator Belgicae statim interfectus ; lulium Bur- 
donem Germanicae classis praefectum astu subtraxit. 
Exarserat in eum iracundia exercitus tamquam 
crimen ac mox insidias Fonteio Capitoni struxisset. 
Grata erat memoria Capitonis, et apud saevientis 
occidere palam, ignoscere non nisi fallendo licebat : 
ita in custodia habitus et post victoriam demum, 
stratis ^ iam militum odiis, dimissus est. Interim 
ut piaculum obicitur centurio Crispinus. Sanguine 
Capitonis se ^ cruentaverat eoque et postulantibus 
manifestior et punienti vilior fuit. 

LIX. lulius deinde Civilis periculo exemptus, 
praepotens inter Batavos, ne supplicio eius ferox 
gens alienaretur. Et erant in civitate Lingonum 
octo Batavorura cohortes, quartae deciraae legionis 
auxilia, turn discordia temporum a legione digressae, 
prout inclinassent, grande momentum sociae aut 
adversae. Nonium, Donatium, Romilium, Calpur- 
nium centuriones, de quibus supra rettulimus^ occidi 

^ raro Jacob : paro M. ^ statis M. 

' se add. I. Gronovius. 

1 Cf. chap. 46. 2 cf. chap. 12. ^ cf. chap. 7. 

* A few months later he raised a formidable revolt, as is 
narrated in Books TV and V below. 

* These people lived chiefly on the i.sland between the 
Rhine, the Maas, and the Waal; they had long furnished 
auxiliary troops. 

lOO 



BOOK I. Lviii.-Lix. 

furloughs to the centurions out of his own purse. ^ 
He frequently gave his approval to the savagery of 
the soldiers who demanded that many be given up 
to punishment ; in some rare instances he evaded 
it by throwing the accused into chains. Pompeius 
PropinquuSj^ imperial agent in Belgian Gaul, was 
immediately put to death ; Julius Burdo, com- 
mander of the German fleet, lie saved by a clever 
ruse. The army's anger had blazed out against 
Burdo, because he had invented a charge against 
Fonteius Capito, and later had plotted against 
him.^ The soldiers remembered Capito with grati- 
tude, and while Vitellius might kill openly before 
the angry mob, he could not pardon except by 
deceit. And so Burdo was kept under guard and 
released only after the victory of Vitellius, when the 
hatred of the soldiers for him was now appeased. 
In the meantime the centurion Crispinus was offered 
as a scapegoat. Capito's blood was on his hands, 
and that made him the more obvious victim of the 
soldiers' demands and the cheaper sacrifice in the 
eyes of the executioner. 

LIX. Next Julius Civilis was saved from danger.'' 
He had great influence with the Batavians^ so that 
V^itellius did not wish to alienate this savage people 
by punishing him. Moreover there were in the 
country of the Lingones eight cohorts of Batavians, 
auxiliaries belonging to the Fourteenth legion, who 
at that time, owing to the discord of the moment, 
had withdrawn from the legion ; and, whichever way 
they inclined, these eight cohorts would have great 
weight as allies or opponents. The centurions 
Nonius, Donatius, Romilius, and Calpurnius, of whom 
we have spoken above, he ordered to be executed. 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

iussit; dainnatos fidei crimine, gravissimo inter desci- 
scentis. Accessere partibus Valerius Asiaticus, 
Belgicae provinciae legatus, quem mox V'itellius 
generuni adscivit, et lunius Blaesus^ Lugdunensis 
Galliae rector, cum Italica legione et ala Tauriana 
Lugduni tendentibus. Nee in Raeticis copiis mora 
quo minus statini adiungerentur : ne in Britannia 
quidem dubitatuui. 

LX. Praeerat Trebellius^ Maximus, per avaritiam 
ac sordis 2 contemptus exercitui invisusque. Accen- 
debat odium eius Roscius Coelius ^ legatus vicensimae 
legionis, oHni discors, sed occasione ci\ ilium armorum 
atrocius proruperat. Trebellius seditionem et con- 
fusum ordinem disciplinae Coelio, spoliatas et inopes 
legiones Coelius Trebellio obiectabat, cum interim 
foedis^ legatorum certaminibus modestia exercitus 
corrupta eoque discordiae vcntum ut auxiliarium 
quoque militum conviciis jiroturbatus et adgre- 
gantibus se Coelio cohortibus absque desertus Tre- 
bellius ad Vitellium perfugerit. Quies provinciae 
quamquam remoto consulari mansit : rexere legati 
legionum, pares lure, Coelius audendo potentior. 

LXI. Adiuncto Britannico exercitu ingens viribus 
opibusque Vitellius duos duces, duo itinera bello 

1 trebellinus M. ^ sorde M. 

^ celius ^f : Caelius vuhjo, sed cf. Ada Arvalium a. 81. 

* faedus M. 

' See iii. 38 f. for his alleged murder at Vitellius's orders. 

■^ The Icgjo prima Italica.. 

^ Named from Statilius Taurus. 



BOOK I. LIX.-LXI. 

for they had been pronounced guilty of loyalty — 
the worst of charges among rebels. He also now 
gained the adherence of Valerius Asiaticus, governor 
of the Belgic Province, whom he later made his 
son-in-law ; likewise of Junius Blaesus ^ who was in 
charge of Gallia Lugdunensis, together with the 
Italic legion- and the Taurian squadron of horse ^ 
who were stationed at Lyons The forces in Raetia 
did not delay joining his side at once ; nor was there 
any hesitation even in Britain. 

LX. The governor of Britain was Trebellius 
Maximus, whose greed and meanness made him 
despised and hated by his soldiers. Their hostility 
towards him was increased by Roscius Coelius, the 
commander of the Twentieth legion, who had long 
been at odds with him ; but now, on the occasion 
of civil war, the hostility between the two broke 
out with great violence. Trebellius charged Coelius 
with stirring up mutiny and destroying discipline ; 
Coelius reproached Trebellius with robbing the 
legions and leaving them poor, while meantime 
the discipline of the army was broken down by this 
shameful quarrel between the commanders ; and the 
trouble reached such a point that Trebellius was 
openly insulted by the auxiliary soldiers as well as 
by the legions, and when deserted by the auxiliary 
foot and horse who joined Coelius, (led to V^itellius. 
The province remained quiet, although the consular 
governor had been removed : control was in the 
hands of the commanders of the legions, who were 
equal in authority ; _but Coelius actually had the 
greater power because of his audacity. 

LXl. Now that the army in Britain had joined 
his standard, Vitellius, who had enormous strength 

103 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

destinavit : Fabius Valens adlicere vel, si abnuerent,^ 
vastare Gallias et Cottianis Alpibus Italiam in- 
runipere, Caecina propiore transitu Poeninis^ iugis 
degredi iussus. Valenti inferioris exercitus electi 
cum aquila quintae legionis et coliortibus absque, 
ad quadraginta milia ai'matorum data ; triginta miba 
Caecina e superiore Germania ducebat, quorum 
robur legio unaetvicensima ^ fuit. Addita utrique 
Germanorum auxiUa, e quibus Vitellius suas quoque 
copias supplevit, tota mole belb secuturus. 

LXII. Mira inter* exercitum imperatoremque 
diversitas : instare miles, arma poscere, dum Galliae 
trepident, dum Hispaniae cunctentur : non obstare 
hiemem neque ignavae pacis moras : invadendam 
Italiam, occupandam urbem ; nihil in discordiis 
civilibus ^ festinatione tutius, ubi facto magis quam 
consulto opus esset. Torpebat Vitellius et fortunam 
principatus inerti luxu ac prodigis epulis praesume- 
bat, medio diei temulentus et sagina gravis, cum 
tamen ardor et vis militum ultro ducis munia 
implebat, ut si adesset imperator et strenuis vel 
ignavis spem metumve adderet. Instructi intentique 
signum profectionis exposcunt. Nomen Germanici 

^ a,hnuerent Rhenaiius: abniierint 3/. 
2 Poeninus Rhenanus : paennis M. 

* una et vicesima codd. del. ct cd. pr. : una prima et 
vicensinia J/. 

* niirante M. ^ vilibus 3f. 

1 By Mt. Genevre. * The Great St. Bernard. 

104 



BOOK I. Lxi.-Lxii. 

and resources at his command, selected two leaders 
and two lines of advance for the war. He ordered 
Fabius Valens to win over the Gallic provinces, or, 
if they refused his advances, to lay them waste and 
then break into Italy by the Cottian Alps.^ Caecina 
was to descend by the nearer route over the Pennine 
range. 2 Valens was given picked soldiers from the 
Lower army together with the eagle of the Fifth 
legion and auxiliary foot and horse, the whole force 
numbering about 40,000 armed men. Caecina took 
from the Upper army 30,000 ; but his real strength 
lay in the Twenty- first legion. Both were given in 
addition German auxiliaries with whom \'itellius 
completed his own forces also, as he was prepared 
to follow with his whole strength. 

LXII. There was a marked contrast between 
army and general. The soldiers were eager; they 
demanded battle, while the Gallic provinces were 
still timid and the Spanish hesitant. " Neither 
winter," they declared, "nor the delay caused by 
a peace which only a coward would make is an 
obstacle to us. We must invade Italy, seize Home. 
In civil strife, where one must act rather than 
debate, nothing is more safe than haste." V'itellius, 
however, was sunk in sloth and was already enjoying 
a foretaste of his imperial fortune by indolent luxury 
and extravagant dinners ; at midday he was tipsy 
and gorged with food. Still the soldiers in their 
eagerness and vigour actually performed the duties 
of a general, so that they inspired the energetic 
with hope or the indolent with fear, exactly as it 
the commander-in-chief were there in person. They 
were drawn up in line and eager for action ; they 
demanded the signal for the start. Vitellius was at 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Vitellio statim additum : Caesarem se appellari etiam 
victor prohibuit. Laetum augurium Fabio Valenti 
exercituique, quem in bellum agebat, ipso profecti- 
onis die aquila leni ^ meatu, prout agmen incederet, 
velut dux viae praevolavit^ longiimque per spatium 
is gaudentium militum clamor^ ea quies interritae 
alitis fuit ut hand dubium niagnae et prosperae rei 
omen 2 acciperetur. 

LXIII. Et Treviros quidem ut socios securi adiere : 
Divoduri (Mediomatricorum id oppidum est) quam- 
quam omni comitate exceptos subitus pavor terruit, 
raptis repente armis ad caedem innoxiae civitatis, 
non ob praedam aut spoliandi cupidine, sed furore 
et rabie et causis incertis eoque difficilioribus renie- 
diis, donee precibus ducis mitigati ab excidio civitatis 
temperavere ; caesa tamen ad quattuor milia homi- 
num, Isque terror Gallias invasit ut venienti mox 
agmini universae civitates cum magistratibus et 
precibus occurrerent, stratis per vias feminis pueris- 
que : quaeque alia placamenta hostilis irae, non 
quidem in bello sed pro pace tendebantur. 

LXIV. Nuntium de caede Galbae et imperio 
Othonis Fabius Valens in civitate Leucorum accepit. 
Nee militum animus in gaudium aut formidine 
permotus : bellum volvebat, Gallis cunctatio ex- 
empta est ^ : in Othonem ac Vitellium odium par, 

1 leni Acidaliics : levi 3f. - iionien J/. 

^ est Halm : et 31. 

1 Metz. 

' Living about the modern town of Toul. 
lo6 



BOOK I. Lxii.-Lxiv. 

once given the additional name of German icus ; the 
appellation Caesar he forbade even after he was 
victorious. It was a happy augury to the mind of 
Fabius Valens and the army which he was leading 
to war that, on the very day they started, an eagle 
flew gently along before the advancing army appar- 
ently to guide their march ; and for a long distance 
such were the exultant cries of the troops, such the 
undisturbed calm of the bird, that it was welcomed 
as a certain omen of a great and successful issue. 

LXIII. The army approached the Treviri with a 
sense of security which they naturally felt among 
allies. But at Divodurum,^ a town of the Medio- 
matrici, though received with all courtesy, the army 
was struck with sudden panic ; the soldiers hurriedly 
seized their arms to massacre the innocent citizens, 
not for booty or from a desire to loot, but prompted 
by wild fur^', the cause of which was uncertain and 
the remedies therefore more difficult. Finally, how- 
ever, they were quieted bv their general's appeals 
and refrained from completely destroying the com- 
munity ; still about 4,000 had been massacred, and 
such terror spread over the Gallic provinces that 
later on, as the army advanced, entire communities 
headed by their magistrates came out to meet it 
with appeals, women and children prostrating them- 
selves along the roads, while everything else that 
can appease an enemy's wrath was offered to secure 
peace, although there was no war. 

LXIV. Fabius Valens heard the news of Galba's 
death and the accession of Otho in the state of the 
Leuci.- The soldiers were neither moved to joy 
nor stirred by fear ; they thought only of war. The 
Gauls no longer hesitated ; though they hated Otho 

107 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

ex Vitellio et metus. Proxima Lingonum civitas 
erat, fida partibus. Benigne excepti modestia cer- 
tavere, sed brevis laetitia fuit cohortium intemperie, 
quas a legione quarta decima, lit supra memoravimus, 
digressas exercitui suo Fabiiis Valens adiunxerat. 
lurgia primura, mox rixa inter Batavos et legionaries, 
dum his aut illis studia militum adgregantur, prope 
in proelium exarsere, ni Valens animadversione 
paucorum oblitos iam Batavos imperii admonuisset. 
Frustra adversus Aeduos quaesita belli causa : iussi 
pecuniam atque arma deferre ^ gratuitos insuper 
commeatus praebuere. Quod Aedui formidine Lug- 
dunenses gaudio fecere. Sed legio Italica et ala 
Tauriana^ abductae : cohortem duodevicensimam 
Lugduni, solitis sibi hibernis, relinqui jjlacuit. Man- 
lius Valens legatus Italicae legionis, quamquam bene 
de partibus meritus, nullo apud Vitellium honore 
fuit ; secretis eum criminationibus infamaverat 
Fabius ignarum et, quo incautior deciperetur, palam 
laudatum. 

LXV. Veterem inter Lugdunensis et Viennensis ^ 
discordiam proximum bellum accenderat. Multae 

^ deferret M. * taurina M., cf. c. 59. 

• et Viennensis om. M : Viennensesque Pukolanus. 

^ Apparently a cohors civium Romanorum, an auxiliary 
force. 

" The rebellion of Vindex. See Introduction, p. xi, 

1 08 



BOOK I. Lxiv.-Lxv. 

and Vitellius equally, they also feared Vitellius. 
The next state was that of the Lingones, which was 
faithful to his party. There the Roman soldiers en- 
joyed a kindly reception and vied with one another 
in good behaviour. Yet the joy over this was short- 
lived, because of the violence of the auxiliary 
infantry, which, as we said above, had detached 
themselves from the Fourteenth legion and been 
incorporated by Fabius Valens in his force. At 
first a quarrel arose between the Batavians and 
the legionaries, and then a brawl. Finally, as the 
soldiers took sides with one or the other, they 
broke out almost into open battle, and in fact would 
have done so had not \'alens, by the punishment of 
a few men, reminded the Batavians of the authority 
which they had forgotten. It was in vain that the 
Roman troops tried to find an excuse for war against 
the Aeduans ; when ordered to furnish money and 
arms, the Aeduans went so far as to provide the army 
with supplies without cost, and what the Aeduans 
had done from fear the people of Lyons did from 
joy. The Italic legion and the Taurian squadron 
of horse were withdrawn from the city ; it was 
decided, however, to leave the Eighteenth cohort 
there, ^ for that was their usual winter quarters. 
Manlius Valens, commander of the Italic legion, 
enjoyed no honour with Vitellius, though he had 
done good service to his party. Fabius had de- 
famed him by secret charges of which Manlius 
knew nothing, but praised him openly tliat, being 
off his guard, he might be more easily deceived, 

LX\^ The old feud between the people of Lyons 
and V^ienne had been inflamed by the last war.^ 
They had inflicted many losses on each other and 

109 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

in vicem clades, crebrius infestiusque quam ut 
tantum propter Neronem Galbamque pugnaretur. 
Et Galba reditus Lugdunensium occasione irae in 
fiscuni verterat ; multus contra in Viennensis honor : 
unde aemulatio et invidia et uno amne discretis 
conexum odium, Igitur Lugdunenses extiraulare 
singulos niilitum et in eversionem Viennensium 
impellere, obsessam ab illis coloniam suam, adiiitos 
Vindicis conatus, conscriptas nuper legiones in 
praesidiuni Galbae referendo. Et iibi caiisas odi- 
orum praetenderant, magnitudinem praedae ostende- 
bant, nee iani secreta exhortatio, sed publicae 
preces : irent ultores, excinderent sedem Galbci 
belH : cuncta illic externa et hostilia : se, coloniam 
Romanam et partem exercitus et prosperarum 
adversarumque rerum socios^ si fortuna contra daret, 
iratis ne reHnquerent. 

LXVI. His et pluribus in eundem modum per- 
pulerant ut ne ^ legati quidem ac duces partium 
restingui posse ^ iracundiani exercitus arbitrarentur, 
cum hand ignari discriminis sui Viennenses, vela- 
menta et infulas praeferentes, ubi agmen incesserat, 
arma genua vestigia prensanda flexere niilitum 
animos ; addidit Valens trecenos singulis militibus 
sestertios. Tum vestustas dignitasque coloniae valuit 
et verba Fabi salutem incolumitatemque Vien- 

^ ne /. F. Gronovius : nee M. 
* posset M. 

IIO 



BOOK I. i.xv.-Lxvi. 

liad done this too frequently and savagely for anyone 
to believe that they were fighting only for Nero or 
Galba. Galba too had taken advantage of his dis- 
pleasure to divert the revenues of Lyons into his own 
treasury ; on the other hand he had shown great 
honour to the people of Vienne. Hence arose rivalry 
and envy and a bond of hatred between the peoples 
who were separated only by a single river. There- 
fore the people of Lyons began to stir up individual 
soldiers and spur them on to destroy Vienne by re- 
minding them that its inhabitants had besieged their 
own colony, aided \^index in his attempts, and had 
lately enrolled legions for the defence of Galba. 
Moreover, after they had put forward these pretexts 
for hating Vienne, they began to point out the large 
booty to be obtained, no longer exhorting them in 
secret, but making public appeals. "Advance as 
avengers," they said; "destroy the home of war 
in Gaul. At Vienne there is nothing that is not 
foreign and hostile. We, a Roman colony and a 
part of your army, have shared your successes and 
reverses. Do not abandon us to an angry foe, should 
fortune prove adverse. " 

LX\ 1. By these and similar appeals, they had 
brought the soldiers to the point where not even 
the commanders and leaders of the party thought 
it possible to check the army's hostile fury, when 
the people of Vienne, well aware of their danger, 
diverted the soldiers from their purpose by coming 
out along the line of advance, bearing veils and 
fillets, and clasping the soldiers' weapons, knees, 
and feet. Valens too gave each soldier three 
hundred sesterces. The age also and the dignity 
of the colony prevailed ; and the words of Fabius, 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

nensium comraendantis acquis auribus ^ accepta ; 
publice taraen armis multati, privatis et promiscis 
copiis iuvere mil item. Sed fama constans fuit 
ipsum Valentem magna pecunia emptura. Is diu 
sordidus, repente dives mutationem fortunae male 
tegebat, accensis egestate longa cupidinibus im 
moderatus et iiiopi iuventa senex prodigus. Lento 
deinde agmine per finis Allobrogum ac Vocontiorum 
ductus exercitus, ipsa itinerum spatia et stativorum 
mutationes venditante duce, foedis pactionibus 
adversus possessores agrorum et magistratus civi- 
tatum^ adeo minaciter ut Luco (municipium id 
Vocontiorum est) faces admoverit, donee pecunia 
mitigaretur. Quotiens pecuniae materia deesset, 
stupris et adulteriis exorabatur. Sic ad Alpis 
perventum. 

LX\'^II. Plus praedae ac sanguinis Caecina hausit. 
Inritaverant turbidum ingenium Helvetii, Gallica 
gens olim ^ armis virisque, mox memoria nominis 
clara, de caede Galbae ignari et V'^itellii imperium 
abnuentes. Initium bello fuit avaritia ac festinatio 
unaetvicensimae legionis ; rapuerant pecuniam mis- 
sam in stipendium castelli quod olim Helvetii suis 
militibus ac stipendiis tuebantur. Aegre id passi 

^ saxuribus M. * olim Rhenanus : solim M. 

1 The AUobroges lived in the districts known to-day as 
Savoy and northern Dcauphine ; the southern partof Dauphine 
and Provence were occupied by the Voconlii, whose chief 
town was Vasio (Vaison). 

* Luc-en-Diois. 



BOOK I. Lxvi-i.xvii. 

as he urged the soldiers to leave the Viennese in 
safety and unharmed, received a favourable hearing. 
Still the people were all deprived of their weapons, 
and they assisted the soldiers with private means 
of every sort. Yet report has always consistently 
said that Valens himself was bribed with a large 
sum. He had long been poor ; now suddenly be- 
coming rich, he hardly concealed his change of 
fortune. His desires had been increased by long 
poverty, so that he now put no restraint upon him- 
self, and after a youth of poverty became a prodigal 
old man. Next he led his army slowly through the 
lands of the Allobroges and Vocontii,^ the very 
length of each day's advance and the choice of 
encampment being sold by the general, who drove 
shameless bargains to the detriment of the owners 
of the land and the local magistrates. Indeed he 
acted so threateningly that lie was on the point 
of applying the torch to Lucus,^ a town of the 
\^ocontii, until he was soothed by money. When- 
ever money was not available, he was appeased by 
sacrifices to his lust. In this way tiiey reached the 
Alps. 

LXV'II. Caecina gained even more booty and shed 
more blood. His restless spirit had been provoked 
by the Helvetii, a Gallic people once famous for 
their deeds in arms and for their heroes, later only 
for the memory of their name. Of Galba's murder 
they knew nothing and they refused to recognize 
the authority of S'itellius. The origin of the war was 
due to the greed and haste of the Twenty-first legion, 
which had embezzled the money sent to pay the 
garrison of a fort once defended by the Helvetians 
with their own forces and at their own expense. 

113 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Helvetii, interceptis epistulis, quae nomine Ger- 
manic! exercitus ad Pannonicas legiones ferebantur, 
centurionem et quosdam militum in custodia retine- 
bant. Caecina belli avidus proximam quamque 
culpanij antequam paeniteret, ultum ibat : mota 
propere castra, vastati agri, direptus longa pace in 
modum municipii extructus locus^ amoeno salubrium 
aquarinn usu frequens ; missi ad Raetica auxilia 
nuntii lit versos in legionein Helvetios a tergo 
adgrederentur. 

LX\TII. Illi ante discrimen feroces^ in periculo 
pavidi^ quamquam prime tumultu Claudiimi Severum 
ducem legerant, non arma noscere, non ordines 
sequi, non in unum consulere. Exitiosum adversus 
veteranos proelium, intuta ol)sidio dilapsis vetustate 
moenibus : liinc Caecina cum valido exercitu, inde 
Raeticae alae cohortesque et ij)Sorum Raetorum 
iuventus, sueta armis et more militiae exercita. 
Undique po[)ulatio et caedes : ipsi medio vagi, 
abiectis armis, magna pars saucii aut palantes, in 
monlem Vocctiinn perfugere. Ac statim immissa 
cohorte Thraecum depuisi et consectantibus Ger- 
manis Raetisque j)er silvas atque in ipsis latebris 



^ Subdued liy Caesar in 58 B.C. 

- Baden oa the Limmat, north-west of Zurich. 

^ The Botzberg in the Swiss Jura. 

114 



BOOK I. Lxvii.-Lxviii. 

This angered the Helvetians, wlio intercepted some 
letters which were being carried in the name of the 
army in Germany to the legions in Pannonia,^ and 
they kept the centurions and certain soldiers in 
custody. Caecina, eager for war, always moved to 
punish every fault instantly before there was a 
chance for repentance : he immediately shifted 
camp, devastated the fields, and ravaged a place 
that during the long peace had been built up into 
the semblance of a town and was much resorted to 
for its beauty and healthful waters. ^ Messages 
were sent to the auxiliaries in Raetia, directing 
them to attack in the rear the Helvetians who 
were facing the Roman legion. 

LXVni. 'J'he Helvetians were bold before the 
crisis came, but timid in the face of danger ; and 
although at the beginning of the trouble they had 
chosen Claudius Severus leader, they had not learned 
the use of arms, did not keep their ranks, or consult 
together. Battle against veterans would be de- 
structive to them ; a siege would be dangerous, for 
their walls had fallen into ruin from lapse of time. 
On the one side was ("aecina witii a strong force, 
on the other the Raetian horse and foot, and the 
young men of Raetia itself, who were accustomed 
to arms and trained in warfare. Everywhere were 
rapine and slaughter. Wandering about between 
the two armies, the Helvetians threw away their 
arms and fled for life to Mt. V^ocetius,^ the majority 
of them wounded or straggling. A cohort of 
Thracian infantry was immediately dispatched 
against them and dislodged them. Then, pursued 
by Germans and Raetians through their forests, 
they were cut down even in their hiding places. 

"5 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

trucidati. Multa hominum milia caesa, multa sub 
corona venundata. Cumque dirutis omnibus Aven- 
ticum gentis caput infesto ^ agmine peteretur, missi 
qui dederent civitatem, et deditio accepta. In 
lulium Alpinum e principibus ut concitorera belli 
Caeciua animadvertit : ceteros veniae vel saevitiae 
Vitellii reliquit. 

LXIX. Haud facile dictu est, legati Helvetiorum 
minus placabileni ^ imperatorem an militem invene- 
rint. Civitatis ^ excidium poscunt, tela ac manus 
in ora legatorum intentant. Ne Vitellius quidem 
verbis et minis temperabat, cum Claudius Cossus, 
unus ex legatis, notae facundiae sed dicendi artem 
apta trepidatione occultans atque eo validior, militis 
animum mitigavit. Ut est mos, vulgus mutabile 
subitis et tam pronum in misericordiam * quam im- 
modicum saevitia fuerat : efFusis lacrimis et meliora 
constantius postulando impunitatem salutemque 
civitati impetravere. 

LXX. Caecina paucos in Helvetiis moratus dies 
dum sententiae Vitellii certior fieret, simul transi- 
tum Alpium parans, laetum ex Italia nuntium 
accipit alam Silianam circa Padum agentem Sacra- 
mento Vitellii accessisse. Pro consule Vitellium 
Siliani in Africa habuerant ; mox a Nerone, ut in 

^ infesto Andresen : iuato M. 

* Verba quae sequuntar [placajbilem vsque ad incertuni (r. 
75), item inopia {c. 86), usque ad Cvpriini (II, 2) dcsunt in 
Mcdicco, bifolio iam ante a. MCCCCLII deperdito ; lediones 
discrepantes sunt codd. Florentinorum Ixviii. 4, Ixviii. 5 {a, b), 
ex Mediceo descriptor urn. 

* novitatis a b. * misericordia a b. 

' Avenches near Freiburg. 

* Probably named from C. Siliiis, governor of Upper 
Germany under Tiberius, who had raised the squadron. 

Il6 



BOOK I. Lxviii.-Lxx. 

Many thousands were massacred, many thousands 
sold into slavery. After all had been destroyed, 
when the Roman array was advancing to attack 
Aventicum/ the capital of the tribe, the people 
of that town sent envoys to offer surrender and this 
was accepted. Caecina punished Julius Alpinus, 
one of the leading men, as the promoter of the 
war : the rest he left to the mercy or the cruelty 
of Vitellius. 

LXIX. It is not easy to say whether the envoys 
of the Helvetians found the general or the soldiers 
less merciful. The soldiers demanded the destruction 
of the state, shaking their weapons and fists in the 
faces of the envoys. Even Vitellius did not refrain 
from threatening words, till Claudius Cossus, one of 
the envoys, assuaged the anger of the soldiers ; 
Cossus was a man of well-known eloquence, but at 
this time he concealed his skill as an orator under an 
appropriate trepidation wliich made him all the more 
effective. Like all mobs, the common soldiers were 
given to sudden change and were as ready to show 
pity as they had been extravagant in cruelty. By 
floods of tears and persistent prayers for a milder 
decision, the envoys obtained safety and protection 
for their state. 

LXX. While Caecina dela3'ed a few days among 
the Helvetians until he should learn the views of 
Vitellius, being engaged at the same time in prepara- 
tions for the passage of the Alps, he received the 
joyful news from Italy that the Silian detachment ^ of 
horse that was operating along the Po had taken the 
oath of allegiance to Vitellius. This detachment had 
served under Vitellius when he was proconsul in 
Africa ; later Nero had removed it to send it to Egypt, 

117 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Aegyptum praemitterentur, exciti et ob bellum Vin- 
dicis revocati ^ ac turn in Italia nianentes, instinctu 
decurionum, qui Othonis ignari, Vitellio obstricti 
robur adventantium legionum et famam Germanici 
exercitus attollebant, transiere - in partis et lit donum 
aliquod novo prineipi firniissiina transpadanae regi- 
onis municipia, Mediolanum ac Novariam et Epo- 
rediain et Vercellas, adiunxere. Id Caecinae per 
ipsos compertiim. Et quia praesidio alae unius 
latissinia Italiae pars detendi nequibat, praemissis 
Gallorum Lusitanorumque et Britannorum cohorti- 
bus et Gerinanoruni vexillis cum ala Petriana,*^ ipse 
pallium cunetatus est num Raeticis iugis in Noricum 
flecteret adversus Petronium Urbicum * procuratorem, 
qui concitis et auxiliis interruptis fluminum pontibus 
fidus Othoni putabatur. Sed inetu ne amitteret 
praeniissas iam cohortis alasque, simul reputans plus 
gloriae retenta Italia et, ubicumque certatum foret, 
Noricos in cetera victoriae praemia cessuros, Poenino 
itinere subsignanum militem et grave legionum 
agmen hibernis adhuc Alpibus transduxit. 

LXXI. Otlio interim contra spem omnium non 
deliciis neque desidia torpescere : dilatae voluptates, 
dissimulata luxuria et cuncta ad decorem imperii 

^ provocati a b. 

^ transire a b. 

^ ala Petriana Bocking : alpe triaria a b. 

* Urbicum Freinshtim : urbi a b. 



' The commanders of the companies of horse. 

^ Milan, Novara, Ivrea, Vercelli. 

■'' Named from a certain Petra who had organised the troop. 

' The Arlberg. 

^ The Great !St. Bernard. 



ii8 



BOOK I. i.xx.-Lxxr. 

but it had been recalled because of the war with 
Vindex and was at this time in Italy. Prompted by 
the decurions ^ who, being wholly unacquainted with 
Otho but bound to Vitellius, kept extolling the 
strength of the approaching legions and the reputa- 
tion of the army in Germany, the members of the 
troop came over to the side of Vitellius, and as a 
kind of gift to the new emperor, they secured for 
him the strongest of the transpadane towns, Medio- 
lanum, Novaria, Eporedia, and Vercellae.^ This fact 
Caecina learned from the inhabitants of these towns, 
and since a single squadron of horse could not protect 
the broadest part of Italy, he sent in advance infantry, 
made up of Gauls, Lusitanians, and Britons, and some 
German detachments with the squadron of Petra's 
horse,^ while he himself delayed a little to see whether 
he should turn aside over the Raetian range * to 
Noricum to oppose the imperial agent Petronius 
Urbicus, who was regarded as faithful to Otho since 
he had called out auxiliary troops and broken down 
the bridges over the stream. But Caecina was afraid 
that he might lose the infantry and cavalry which he 
had already dispatched before him, and, at the same 
time, he realized that there was more glory in secur- 
ing Italy, and that wherever the decisive struggle 
took place, the people of Noricum would come with 
the other prizes of victory. He accordingly led his 
reserve troops and the heavy armed legions over the 
Pennine Pass ^ while the Alps were still covered, with 
the winter's snow. 

LXXI. Otho, meanwhile, contrary to everyone's 
expectation, made no dull surrender to luxury or 
ease : he put off his pleasures, concealed his pro- 
fligacy, and ordered his whole life as befitted the 

119 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

composita, eoque plus formidinis adferebant falsae 
virtutes et vitia reditura. Mariiim Celsiim consulem 
designatum, per speciem vinciilorum saevitiae mili- 
tum subtractum, acciri in Capitolium iiibet ; clemen- 
tiae titulus e viro claro et partibus inviso 2)etebatur. 
Celsus constanter servatae erga Galbam fidei crimen 
confessuSj exemphim ultro imputavit. Nee Otho 
quasi ignosceret sed, ne liostem metueret, concilia- 
tiones adhibens/ statim inter intimos amicos habuit 
et mox bello inter duces delegit, niansitque Celso 
velut fataliter etiam pro Otlione fides integra et 
infelix. Laeta primoribus civitatis, celebrata in 
vulgus Celsi salus ne militibus quidem ingrata fuit, 
eandem virtutem admirantibus cui irascebantur. 

LXXII. Par inde exultatio disparibus causis con- 
secuta inipetrato TigelHni exitio. Ofonius^ Tigel- 
linus obscuris parentibus^ foeda pueritia, impudica 
senecta, praefecturam vigilum et praetoi'ii et alia 
praemia virtutum^ quia velocius erat, vitiis adeptus, 
crudelitatem mox, deinde avaritiam, virilia scelera, 
exercuit, corrupto ad omne facinus Nerone, quaedam 
ignaro ausus, ac postremo eiusdem desertor ac 

^ ne hostem metuereb, conciliationes adhibens Halm : ne 
hostes metueret conciliationis a h. 

* Ophonius a b, scd c/. Dion. Cass. lix. 23, ed. Boissevain. 

I20 



BOOK I. LXXI.-IAXII. 

imperial position ; with the result that these simu- 
lated virtues and the sure return of his vices only 
inspired still greater dread. Marius Celsus, consul- 
elect, whom he had saved from the fury of the 
soldiers by pretending to imprison him, he had called 
to the Capitol, for he wished to obtain the credit 
of being merciful by his treatment of a distinguished 
man whom his i>arty hated. Celsus boldly pleaded 
guilty of constant loyalty to Galba and went so 
far as to claim that his example was to Qtho's 
advantage. Otho did not act toward him as if he 
were pardoning a criminal, but to avoid having to 
fear him as an enemy took steps to be reconciled to 
him and immediately began to treat him as one of his 
intimate friends ; he later chose him as one of the 
leaders for the war. But Celsus, on his side, as by 
a fatal impulse, maintained a loyalty to Otho which 
was unbroken and ill-starred. His safety, which 
gave joy to the chief men of the state and which 
was commented on favourably by the common people, 
was not unj)0{)ular even with the soldiers, who 
admired the same virtue which roused their anger. 

LXXII. Equal delight, but for different reasons, 
was felt when the destruction of Tigellinus was 
secured. Ofonius I'igellinus was of obscure parent- 
age ; his youth had been infamous and in his old age 
he was profligate. Command of the city watch and 
of the praetorians and other prizes which belong to 
virtue he had obtained by vices as the quicker 
course ; then, afterwards, he practised cruelty and 
later greed, offences which belong to maturity. He 
also corrupted Nero so that he was ready for any 
wickedness ; he dared certain acts without Nero's 
knowledge and finally deserted and betrayed him. 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

proditor : iinde noii aliiim pertinacius ad poenam 
flagitaveruut, diverse adfectu, quibus odium Neronis 
inerat et quibus desiderium. Apud Galbani Titi 
^ inii poteutia defeiisus, praetexentis servatam ab 
eo filiam. Haud dubie servaverat, non dementia, 
quippe tot interfectis, sed eff'ugium in futuium, quia 
pessimus quisque diffidentia praesentium mutationem 
pavens adversus publicum odium privatam gratiam 
praeparat : unde nulla innocentiae cura sed vices 
iinpuiiitatis. Eo infensior popuhis, addita ad vetus 
Tigellini odium recenti liti Vinii invidia, concurrere 
ex tota urbe in Palatium^ ac fora et, ubi plurima 
vulgi licentia, in circum ac theatra effusi seditiosis 
vocibus strepere, donee Tigellinus accepto apud 
Sinuessanas aquas supremae necessitatis nuntio inter 
stupra concubinarum et oscula et deformis moras 
sectis novacula faucibus infamem vitam foedavit 
etiam exitu sero et inhonesto. 

LXXIII. Per idem tempus expostulata ad sup- 
plicium Calvia Crispinilla variis frustrationibus et 
adversa dissimulantis principis fama periculo exempta 
est. Magistra libidinum Neronis, transgressa in 
Africam ad instigandum in arma Clodium Macrum, 
famem populo Romano haud obscure molita, totius 

1 in palatium et tota urbe a b: e tota codd. dett. 



^ The warm baths at Sinuessa in Campania were much 
visited. Cf. Ann. xii. G6. 
'^ Cf. chap. 7. 



BOOK I. LXXII.-LXXIII. 

So no one was more persistently demanded for 
punishment from different motives, both by those 
who hated Nero and by those who regretted him. 
Under Galba 'J'igelHnus had been protected by the 
influence of Titus \'inius, who claimed that Tigellinus 
had saved his daughter. He undoubtedly had saved 
lier, not, however, jirompted by mercy (lie had killed 
so many victims !) but to secure a refuge for the 
future, since the worst of rascals in their distrust of 
the present and fear of a change alwaj's try to secure 
private gratitude as an off-set to public detestation, 
having no regard for innocence, but wishing to obtain 
mutual impunity in wrong-doing. These facts made 
the people more hostile towards him, and their old 
hatred was increased by their recent dislike for Titus 
Vinius. They rushed from every part of the city to 
the Palatine and the fora, and, pouring into the 
circus and theatres where the common people have 
the greatest licence, they broke out into seditious 
cries, until finally Tigellinus, at the baths of Sinu- 
essa,i receiving the message that the hour of his 
supreme necessity had come, amid the embraces and 
kisses of his mistresses, shamefully delaying his end, 
finally cut his throat with a razor, still further defiling 
a notorious life by a tardy and ignominious death. 

LXXIII. At the same time the people demanded 
the punishment of Calvia Crispinilla. She was 
saved from danger, however, through various arti- 
fices on tlie part of tlie emperor, who brought ill- 
reputation upon himself by his duplicity. Crispinilla 
had taught Nero profligacy ; then she had crossed 
to Africa to stir up Clodius Macer to rebellion,^ and 
had openly tried to bring famine on the Roman 
people. Afterwards she secured popularity with 

123 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

postea civitatis gratiam obtinuit, consulari matri- 
nionio subnixa et apud Galbain Othonem Vitellium 
inlaesa, mox potens pecunia et orbitate^ quae bonis 
malisque temporibus iuxta valent. 

LXXIV. Crebrae interim et muliebribus blaridi- 
mentis infectae ab Otlione ad Vitellium epistulae ^ 
ofFerebant ^ pecuniam et gratiam ct quemcumque -^ e * 
quietis locis prodigae vitae legisset. Paria Viteliius 
ostentabat, primo molliuSj stulta utrimque et in- 
decora simulatione, mox quasi rixantes stupra ac 
flagitia in vicem obiectavere, neuter falso. Otho, 
revocatis quos Galba miserat legatis, rursus ad 
utrumque Germanicum exercitum et ad legionem 
Italicam easque quae Lugduni agebant copias specie 
senatus misit. Legati apud Vitellium remansere, 
promptius quam ut retenti viderentur ; praetoriani, 
quos per simulationem officii legatis Otho adiunxerat, 
remissi antequam legionibus miscerentur. Addidit 
epistulas^ Fabius Valens nomine Gernianici exercitus 
ad praetorias et urbanas cohortis de viribus partium 
magnificas et concordiam ofFerentis ; increpabat 
ultro quod tanto ante traditum Vitellio imperium 
ad Othonem vertissent. 

^ epulae a b. 

- offerebant rihamnus : offerebantur a h. 

^ quaecunque a b, * e add. Madvig. 

^ epulas a b. 

^ The court paid by fortune-hunters to rich and childless 
men and women was one of tlie baser characteristics of this 
age and furnished a ready theme for the satirists. Cf. e.g. 
Horace, Sat. ii. 5 ; Juvenal 3. 12611'. ; 6. 548 tf. ; and often. 
124 



BOOK I. Lxxiii.-Lxxiv. 

the entire city by lier marriage with a former consul, 
and so was unharmed under Galba, Otho, and 
VitelHus. Still later she became powerful through 
her wealth and childlessness, which have equal 
weight both in good and evil times. ^ 

LXXIV. Meantime Otho sent V^itellius many 
letters, disfigured by unmanly flattery, offering him 
money and favour and granting him any quiet place 
he chose wherein to spend his profligate life.^ 
VitelHus made similar proposals. At first both 
wrote in genial tones, resorting to pretence which 
was at once foolish and unbecoming : later, as if 
engaged in a common brawl, they each charged the 
other with debaucheries and low practices, neither 
of them falsely. Otho, after recalling the delegates 
that Galba had dispatched,^ sent them again in the 
name of the senate to the two armies in Germany, 
to the Italic legion, and to the troops that were 
stationed at Lyons. The envoys remained with 
^'itellius, too readily for men to think they were 
detained. The praetorians that Otho had sent 
with the delegation to show it honour were sent 
back before they could mix with the legions. Fabius 
Valens also sent letters in the name of the army in 
Germany to the praetorian and city cohorts, boasting 
of the strength of his party and ofl^ering terms of 
agreement. He even reproached them for diverting 
to Otho the imperial power that had been given to 
VitelHus so long before. 

* Suetonius {Otho 8) and Dio Cassius (Ixiv. 10) say that 
Otho offered to share the imperial ofBce with him ; and 
Suetonius adds that he proposed to marry Vitellius's 
daughter. 

3 Cf. chap. 19. 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

LXXV. Ita promissis simul ac minis teinptabantur, 
ut bello impaies, in pace nihil amissuri ; neque ideo 
praetorianorum fides mutata. Sed insidiatores ab 
Othone in Germaniam, a Vitellio in urbem missi. 
Utrisque frustra fuit^ Vitellianis inpune, per tantam 
hominum multitudinem mutua ignorantia fallen tibus : 
Othoniani novitate vultus, omnibus in vicem gnaris/ 
prodebantur. Vitellius litteras ad Titianum fratrem 
Othonis composuit, exitium ipsi filioque eius minitans 
ni incolumes sibi mater ac liberi servarentur; et 
stetit domus utraque, sub Othone incertum an 
metu : Vitellius victor clementiae gloriam tulit. 

LXXVT, Primus Othoni fiduciam addidit ex 
Illyrico nuntius iurasse in eum Dalmatiae ac Pan- 
noniae et Moesiae legiones. Idem ex Hispania 
adlatum laudatusque per edictum Cluvius Rufus : 
set 2 statim cognitum est conversam ad Vitellium 
Hispaniam. Ne Aquitania quidem, quamquam ab 
lulio Cordo in verba Othonis obstricta, diu mansit. 
Nusquam fides aut amor : metu ac necessitate hue 
illuc mutabantur. Eadem formido provinciam Nar- 
bonensem ad \'itellium vertit, facili transitu ad 
proximos et validiores. Longinquae provinciae et 



1 gnaris Rhenanus ; ignaris a b. 
* set Bitter : et M. 



126 



BOOK I. LXW.-LXXVI. 

LXXV. Thus the praetorians were plied at the 
same time with promises and threats. They were 
told that they were unequal to war but would lose 
nothing in peace ; and yet they did not give uj) 
their loyalty. Otho sent secret agents to Germany, 
and Vitellius sent his agents to Rome. Neither 
accomplished anything, but the agents of Vitellius 
got off safely, since amid the great multitude they 
neither knew people nor were themselves known ; 
Otho's agents, however, were betrayed by their 
strange faces, since in the army everyone knew 
evervone else. Vitellius wrote a letter to Otho's 
brother, Titianus, in which he threatened him and 
his son with death if his own mother and children 
were not kept unharmed. As a matter of fact both 
fjimilies were uninjured : under Otho this was prob- 
ai)lv due to fear; Vitellius, when victor, got the 
credit for mercy. 

LXXV^I. The first message that gave Otho con- 
fidence came from lllyricum, to the effect that the 
legions of Dalmatia and Pannonia and Moesia had 
sworn allegiance to him. The same news was 
brought from Spain, whereupon Otho extolled 
Cluvius Hufus in a proclamation ; but immediately 
afterwards word was brought that Spain had gone 
over to \ itellius. Not even Aquitania long remained 
faithful, although it had been made to swear 
allegiance to Otho by Julius Cordus. Nowhere was 
there any loyalty or affection. Fear and necessity 
made men shift now to one side, now to the other. 
The same terror brought the province of Narbonensis 
over to Vitellius, it being easy to pass to the side 
of the nearest and the stronger. The distant pro- 
vinces and all the armed forces across the sea 

127 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

quidquid armorum mari dirimitur penes Othonem 
manebat, non partium studio^ sed erat grande 
momentum in nomine urbis ac praetexto senatus, 
et occupaverat aninios prior auditus. ludaicum 
exercitum Vespasianus, Syriae legiones Mucianus 
Sacramento Othonis adegere ; simul Aegyptus om- 
nesque versae in Orientem provinciae nomine eius 
tenebantur. Idem Africae obsequiunij initio Car- 
thagine orto neque expectata V^ipstani ^ Aproniani 
proconsulis auctoritate ; Crescens Neronis libertus 
(nam et hi malis temporibus partem se rei publicae 
faciunt) epulum plebi ob laetitiam recentis imperii 
obtulerat, et populus pleraque sine modo festinavit. 
Carthaginem ceterae civitates secutae. 

LXXV^II. Sic distractis exercitibus ac provinciis 
Vitellio quidem ad capessendam principatus for- 
tunam bello opus erat, Otho ut in multa pace munia 
imperii obibat, quaedam ex dignitate rei publicae, 
pleraque contra decus ex praesenti usu properando. 
Consul cum Titiano fratre in kalendas Martias ipse ; 
proximos mensis Verginio destinat ut aliquod exer- 
citui Germanico delenimentum ; iungitur ^'erginio 
Pompeius Vopiscus praetexto veteris amicitiac ; 
plerique Viennensium honori datum interpretaban- 

^ Vipstani Rijchius, cf. Ada Arvaliurn passim: vip- 
sani M. 



1 At the beginning of this year, 09 A.n., the thirty legions 
of the Roman army were distributed as follows : Spanish 
Provinces, 3 ; (Jallic Provinces, 1 ; Upper Germany, 3 ; 
Lower Germany, 4 ; Britain, 3 ; Diilmatia, 2 ; Pannonia, 2 ; 
^foesia, 3 ; Syria, 3 ; Judea, 3 ; Egypt, 2 ; Africa, 1. 

To these were attached auxiliary troops and cavalry of 
about the same strength as the legions, so that the total 

128 



BOOK I. LXXVI.-LXXVII. 

remained on Otho's side, not from any enthusiasm 
for his party, but because the name of the city and 
the splendour of the senate had great weight ; 
moreover the emperor of whom they first heard 
preempted their regai'd. The oath of allegiance to 
Otho was administered to the army in Judea by 
Vespasian, to the legions in Syria by Mucianus. At 
the same time Egypt and all the provinces to the 
East were governed in Otho's name. Africa showed 
the same ready obedience, led by Carthage, without 
waiting for the authority of Vipstanius Apronianus, 
the proconsul ; Crescens, one of Nero's freedmen — 
for in evil times even freedmen take part in the 
government — had given the commonfolk a feast in 
honour of the recent accession ; and the people 
hurried on with extravagant zeal the usual demon- 
strations. The rest of the communities followed 
Carthage.^ 

LXXVTI. Since the armies and provinces were 
thus divided, Vitellius for his part needed to fight to 
gain the imperial fortune ; but Otho was perform- 
ing the duties of an emperor as if in profound 
peace. Some things he did in accordance with the 
dignity of the state, but often he acted contrary 
to its honour in the haste that was prompted by 
present need. He himself was consul with his 
brother Titianus until the first of March. The next 
months were allotted to Verginius as a sop to the 
army in Germany. With Verginius he associated 
Pompeius Vopiscus under the pretext of their 
ancient friendship ; but most interpreted the act 
as an honour shown the people of Vienne. The 

land forces of the Roman Empire at this time approximated 
300,000 men. 

129 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

tur. Ceteri consulatus ex destinatione Neronis aut 
Galbae mansere, Caelio ac Flavio Sabinis in lulias, 
Arrio Antonino ^ et Mario Celso in Septembris, 
quorum lionoribus^ ne Vitellius quidem victor inter- 
cessit. Sed Otho pontificatus auguratusque hono- 
ratis iam senibus cumulum dignitatis addidit, aut 
recens ab exilio reverses nobilis adulescentulos avitis 
ac pateniis sacerdotiis in solacium recoluit. Red- 
ditus Cadio Rufo, Pedio Blaeso, Saevino P . . .^ 
senatorius locus. Repetundarum criminibus sub 
Claudio ac Nerone ceciderant : placuit ignoscentibus 
verso nomine, quod avaritia fuerat, videri maiestatem, 
cuius tum odio etiam bonae leges peribant. 

LXX\'III. Eadem largitione civitatum quoque ac 
provinciarum animos adgressus Hispalensibus * et 
Emeritensibus familiarum adiectiones, Lingonibus 
universis civitatem Romanam, provinciae Baeticae 
Maurorum civitates dono dedit ; nova iura Cappa- 
dociae, nova Africae, ostentata^ magis quam mansura. 
Inter quae necessitate praesentium rerum et in- 
stantibus curis excusata ne tum quidem immemor 
amorum statuas Poppaeae per senatus consultum 
reposuit ; creditus est etiam de celebranda Neronis 
memoria agitavisse spe vulgum adliciendi. Et fuere 

^ Antonino Lipsius : antonio M. 

^ honoribus Raase : honoris M. 

^ prom-se M. 

* Hispalensibus Faernus : hispaniensibus M. 

^ ostentata Ernesti : ostentai J/. 

^ Not the brother of Vespasian. 
^ The grandfather of the Emperor Antoninus Pius. 
^ The terms of these men were later shortened, and in 
fact there were fifteen consuls in the j'ear 69. 
* Seville and Merida. 

130 



BOOK I. LXXVII.-LXXVIII. 

rest of the consulships for the year remained as 
Nero or Galba had assigned them : Caelius Sabinus 
and Flavius Sabinus^ until July; Arrius Antoninus ^ 
and Marius Celsus till September ; their honours 
not even Vitellius vetoed when he became victor.^ 
But Otho assigned pontificates and augurships as 
a crowning distinction to old men who had already 
gone through the list of offices, or solaced young 
nobles recently returned from exile with priesthoods 
which their fathers and ancestors had held. Cadius 
Rufus, Pedius Blaesus, and Saevinus P. . . were 
restored to senatorial rank, which they had lost 
under Claudius and Nero on account of charges of 
bribery made against them ; those who pardoned 
them decided to shift the name so that what had 
really been greed should seem treason, which was 
now so odious that it made even good laws null and 
useless. 

LXXV^III. With the same generosity Otho tried 
to win over the support of communities and pro- 
vinces. To the colonies of Hispalis and Emerita* 
he sent additional families. To the whole people 
of the Lingones he gave Roman citizenship and 
presented the province Baetica with towns in Mauri- 
tania. New constitutions were given Cappadocia 
and Africa, more for display than to the lasting 
advantage of the provinces. Even while engaged in 
these acts, which found their excuse in the necessity 
of the situation and the anxieties that were forced 
upon him, he did not forget his loves and had the 
statues of Poppaca replaced by a vote of the senate. 
It was believed that he also brought up the question 
of celebrating Nero's memory with the hope of win- 
ning over the Roman people ; and in fact some set 

131 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

qui imagines Neronis proponerent : atque etiam 
Othoni quibusdam diebus populus et miles, tamquam 
nobilitatem ac decus adstruerent, Neroni Othoni 
adclamavit. Ipse in suspense tenuit, vetandi metu 
vel agnoscendi pudore. 

LXXIX. Conversis ad civile belluni animis ex- 
terna sine cura habebantur. Eo audentius Rhoxo- 
lani/ Sarmatica gens, priore hieme caesis duabus 
cohortibus, magna spe Moesiam inruperant,^ ad 
novem milia equitum, ex ferocia et suecessu praedae 
magis quam pugnae intenta. Igitur vagos et in- 
euriosos tertia legio adiunctis auxiliis repente invasit. 
Apud Romanos omnia proelio apta : Sarmatae dis- 
persi aut cupidine praedae graves onere sarcinarum 
et lubrieo itinerum adempta equorum pernicitate 
velut vincti caedebantur. Namque mirum dictu ut 
sit omnis Sarmatarum virtus velut extra ipsos. 
Nihil ad pedestrem })ugnam tam ignavum : ubi per 
turmas advenere vix ulla acies obstiterit. Sed turn 
umido die et soluto gelu neque conti neque gladii, 
quos praelongos utraque manu regunt, usui, lapsanti- 
bus equis et catafractarum pondere. Id principibus 
et nobilissimo cuique tegimen, ferreis laminis aut 
praeduro corio consertum, ut adversus ictus impene- 

^ Rhoxolani Beroaldus : rhosolanis 21. 

^ ad Moesiam 31: ad ante novem posuit Acidalius. 

^ Placed by Strabo, vii. iii. 17, between the Don and 
the Dneiper, but by some modern scholars located in 
Bessarabia. 



BOOK I. LXXVIII.-LXXIX. 

up statues of Nero ; moreover on certain days the 
people and soldiers, as if adding thereby to Otho's 
nobility and distinction, acclaimed him as Nei'o 
Otho ; he himself remained undecided, from fear 
to forbid or shame to acknowledge the title. 

LXXIX. While all men's thoughts were thus ab- 
sorbed in civil war, there was no interest in foreign 
affairs. This inspired the Rhoxolani,! a people of 
Sarmatia who had massacred two cohorts the previous 
winter, to invade Moesia with great hopes. They 
numbered nine thousand horse, and their restive 
temper along with their success made them more in- 
tent on booty than on fighting. Consequently, when 
they were straggling and off their guard, the Third 
legion with some auxiliary troops suddenly attacked 
them. On the Roman side everything was ready 
for battle. The Sarmatians were scattered or in 
their greed for booty had weighted themselves down 
with heavy burdens, and since the slippery roads 
deprived them of the advantage of their horses' 
speed, they were cut down as if they were in fetters. 
For it is a strange fact that the whole courage of 
the Sarmatians is, so to speak, outside themselves. 
No peo])le is so cowardly when it comes to fighting 
on foot, but when they attack the foe on horseback, 
hardly any line can resist them. On this occasion, 
how'ever, the day was wet and the snow melting : 
they could not use their pikes or the long swords 
which they wield Avith both hands, for their horses 
fell and they were weighted down by their coats of 
mail. This armour is the defence of their princes and 
all the nobility : it is made of scales of iron or hard 
hide, and though impenetrable to blows, neverthe- 
less it makes it difficult for the wearer to get up 

133 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

trabile ita impetu hostium provolutis inhabile ad 
resurgendum ; simul altitudine et moUitia nivis 
hauriebantur. Romanus miles facilis lorica et mis- 
sili pilo aut lanceis adsiiltans, ubi res posceret, levi 
gladio inermem Sarmatam (neque enim scuto defend! 
mos est) comminus fodiebat, donee pauci qui proelio 
superfuerant paludibus abderentur. Ibi saevitia 
hiemis aut ^ vulnerum absumpti. Postquam id Ro- 
mae compertum, M. Aponius Moesiam obtinens 
triumphali statua, Fulvus Aurelius et lulianus 
Tettius ac Numisius Lupus, legati legionum, con- 
sularibus ornamentis donantur, laeto Othone et 
gloriam in se trahente, tamquani et ipse felix bello 
et suis ducibus suisque exercitibus rem publicam 
auxisset. 

LXXX. Parvo interim initio, unde niliil time- 
batur, orta seditio prope urbi excidio fuit. Septimam 
decimam cohortem e colonia Ostiensi in urbem acciri 
Otho iusserat ; armandae eius cura Vario Crispino 
tribuno e praetorianis data. Is quo magis vacuus 
quietis castris iussa exequeretur, vehicula cohortis 
incipiente nocte onerari aperto armamentario iubet. 
Tempus in suspicionem, causa in crimen, adfectatio 
quietis in tumultuni evaluit, et visa inter temulentos 

^ hiemis aut Schneider: hie mia M. 

1 Such armour was worn by many of Rome's enemies in 
botli Europe and Asia. Cf. Tac. Ann. iii. 43; Livy xxxv, 
48 ; xxxvii. 40 ; Curtius iv. 3.), equitibus ecjuisque tegumenta 
erant ex ferreis lamiiiis seiie inter se conexis (said with 
reference to the Scythians and Bactrians) ; and Amm. Mar. 
XVI. X. 8. 

L34 



BOOK I. LXXIX.-LXXX. 

when overthrown by the enemy's charge ; ^ at the 
same time they were continually sinking deep in 
the soft and heavy snow. The Roman soldier with 
his breast-plate moved readily about, attacking the 
enemy with his javelin, which he threw, or with his 
lances; when the situation required he used his 
short sword and cut down the helpless Sarmatians 
at close quarters, for they do not use the shield for 
defensive purposes. Finally the few who escaped 
battle hid themselves in the swamps, where they 
lost their lives from the cruel winter or the severity 
of their wounds. When the news of this reached 
Rome, Marcus Aponius, governor of Moesia, was 
given a triumphal statue ; Fulvius Aurelius, Julianus 
Tettius, and Numisius Lupus, commanders of the 
legions, were presented with the decorations of a 
consul ; for Otho was pleased and took the glory to 
himself, saying that he was lucky in war and had 
augmented the State through his generals and his 
armies. 

LXXX. In the meantime, from a slight beginning 
which caused no fear, a mutiny arose which almost 
destroyed the city. Otho had given orders that the 
Seventeenth cohort be brought from the colony 
of Ostia to Rome. Varius Crispinus, one of the 
praetorian tribunes, had been charged with equip- 
ping these troops. That he might be the freer to 
carry out his orders, when the camp was quiet, he 
ordered the armoury to be opened and the wagons 
belonging to the cohort to be loaded at nightfall. 
The hour gave rise to suspicion ; his motive became 
the basis of a charge against him ; and his attempt 
to secure quiet resulted in an uproar, while the 
sight of arms in the hands of drunken men roused 

135 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

arma cupidinem siii movere. Fremit miles et 
tribunes centurionesque proditionis arguit, tamquam 
familiae senatorum ad perniciem Othonis armaren- 
tur, pars ignari et vino graves, pessimus quisque iu 
occasionem praedarum, vulgus, ut mos est, cuiiis- 
cumque motus novi cupidum ; et obsequia meliorum 
nox abstulerat. Resistentem seditioni tribunum et 
severissimos centurionum obtruncant ; rapta arma, 
nudati gladii ; insidentes equis urbem ac Palatium 
petunt. 

LXXXI. Erat Othoni celebre conviviimi primori- 
bus feminis virisque ; qui trepidi, fortuitusne militum 
furor an dolus imperatoris, manere ac deprehendi an 
fugere et dispergi periculosius foret, modo constan- 
tiam simulare, modo formidine detegi, siniul Othonis 
vultum intueri ; utque evenit inclinatis ad susj)icio- 
nem mentibus, cum timeret Otho, timebatur. Sed 
haud secus discrimine senatus quam suo territus et 
praefectos praetorii ad mitigandas militum iras 
statim miserat et abire propere omnis e convivio 
iussit. Tum vero passim magistratus proiectis in- 
signibus, vitata comitum et servorum frequentia, 
senes feminaeque per tenebras diversa urbis itinera, 

136 



BOOK I. LXXX.-LXXXI. 

a desire to use them. The soldiers began to mur- 
mur and charged the tribunes and centurions with 
treachery, saying that the slaves of the senators were 
being armed for Otho's destruction, A part of the 
soldiers were ignorant of the circumstances and 
heavy with wine ; the worst of them wished to make 
this an opportunity for looting ; the great mass, as 
is usual, were ready for any new movement, and 
the natural obedience of the better disposed was 
rendered ineffective by the night. When the tribune 
attempted to stay the mutiny, they killed him and 
the strictest of the centurions. I'hen they seized 
their arms, drew their swords, and jumping on their 
horses, hurried to Rome and to the Palace. 

LXXXI. Otho was giving a great banquet to men 
and women of the nobility. In terror as to whether 
this was some chance frenzy on the pai*t of the 
soldiers or some treachery on the part of the 
emperor, the guests did not know whether it was 
more dangerous to stay and be caught or to flee 
and scatter. Now they pretended courage, now 
they were unmasked by their fears ; at the same 
time they watched Otho's face ; and as generally 
happens when men's minds are inclined to suspicion, 
it was just when Otho felt fear that he made others 
fear him. Yet he was terrified as much by the 
danger to the senate as to himself; he had sent 
at once the prefects of the praetorian guard to 
calm the soldiers' anger and he told all to leave 
the banquet quickly. Then in every direction went 
officers of the state, throwing away their insignia 
of office and avoiding the attendance of their friends 
and slaves ; old men and women stole in the dark- 
ness along different streets, few of them trying to 

137 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUh 

rari demos, plurimi amicorum tecta et ut cuiqiie 
humillimus cliens, incertas latebras petivere. 

LXXXII. Militum impetus ne foribus quidem 
Palatii coercitus quo minus convivium inrumperent, 
ostendi sibi Othonem cxpostulantes, vulnerato lulio 
Martiale tribuno et Vitellio Saturnino praefecto 
legionis, dum ruentibus obsistunt. Undique arma 
et minae, modo in centuriones tribunosque, modo 
in senatum universum, Ivmpliatis caeco pavore ani- 
mis, et quia neminem unum destinare irae poterant, 
licentiam in omnis poscentibus, donee Otho contra 
decus imperii toro insistens precibus et lacrimis 
aegre cohibuit, redieruntque in castra inviti neque 
innocentes. Postera die velut capta urbe clausae 
domus, rarus per vias populus^ maesta plebs ; deiecti 
in terram militum vultus ac plus tristitiae quam 
paenitentiae. Manij)ulatim adlocuti sunt Licinius 
Proculus et Plotius Firmus praefecti, ex suo quisque 
ingenio mitius aut horridius. Finis sermonis in eo 
ut quina milia nummum singulis militibus numera- 
rentur : tum Otho ingredi castra ausus. Atque 
ilium tribuni centurionesque circumsistunt^ abiectis 
militiae insignibus otium et salutem flagitantes. 

138 



BOOK I. LXXXI.-LXXXII. 

reach their homes, but most of them hurrying to 
the houses of their friends and the obscurest hiding- 
place of the humblest dependent each had. 

LXXXII. The excited soldiers were not kept 
even by the doors of the palace from bursting into 
the banquet. They demanded to be shown Otho, 
and they wounded Julius Martialis, the tribune, and 
^'itellius Saturnlnus, {)refect of the legion, when 
they opposed their onrush. On every side were 
arms and threats directed now against the centurions 
and tribunes, now against the whole senate, for all 
were in a state of blind panic, and since they could 
not fix upon any individual as the object of their 
wrath, they claimed licence to proceed against all. 
Finally Otho, disregarding the dignity of his imperial 
position, stood on his couch and barely succeeded in 
restraining them with appeals and tears. Then they 
returned to camp neither willingly nor with guiltless 
hands. The next day private houses were closed as 
if the city were in the hands of the enemy ; few 
respectable people were seen in the streets ; the 
rabble was downcast. The soldiers turned their eyes 
to the ground, but were sorrowful rather than 
repentant. Licinius Proculus and Plotius Firmus, 
the prefects, addressed their companies, the one 
mildly, the other severely, each according to his 
nature. They ended with the statement that five 
thousand sesterces were to be paid to each soldier.^ 
Only then did Otho dare to enter the camp. He was 
surrounded by tribunes and centurions, who tore 
away the insignia of their rank and demanded 
discharge and safety from their dangerous service. 

^ A sum equivalent to about .$225 to-day ; but its purchasing 
power was many times that sum. 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Sensit invidiam miles et compositus in obsequium 
auctores seditionis ad supplicium ultro postulabat. 

LXXXIII. Otho, quamquam turbidis rebus et 
diversis militum animis, cum optimus quisque reme- 
diuni praesentis licentiae posceret^ valgus et plures 
seditionibus et ambitioso imperio laeti per turbas et 
raptus facilius ad civile bellum impellerentur, simul 
reputans non posse principatum scelere quaesitum 
subita modestia et prisca gravitate retineri^ sed dis- 
crimine urbis et periculo senatus anxius^ postremo 
ita disseruit : " Neque ut adfectus vestros in amorem 
mei accenderem, commilitones, neque ut aniraum ad 
virtutem cohortarer (utraque enim egregie super- 
sunt), sed veni postulaturus a vobis temperamentum 
vestrae fortitudinis et erga me modum caritatis, 
Tumultus proximi initium non cupiditate vel odio, 
quae multos exercitus in discordiam egere, ac ne 
detrectatione quidem aut formidine periculorum : 
nimia pietas vestra acrius quam considerate ^ excita- 
vit ; nam saepe honestas rerum causas^ ni iudiciura 
adhibeas, perniciosi exitus consequuntur. Imus ad 
bellum. Num omnis nuntios palam audiri, omnia 
consilia cunctis praesentibus tractari ratio rerum aut 
occasionum velocitas patitur? Tam nescire quae- 
dam milites quam scire oportet : ita se ducum 

^ considerate JFalther : considerat M. 
140 



BOOK I. LXXXII.-LXXXUI. 

The common soldiers perceived the bad impression 
that their action had made and settled down to 
obedience, demanding of their own accord that the 
ringleaders of the mutiny should be punished. 

LXXXIII. Otho was in a difficult position owing 
to the general disturbance and the divergences of 
sentiment among the soldiers ; for the best of them 
demanded that some check be put on the present 
licence, while the larger mob delighted in mutinies 
and in an emperor whose power depended on popular 
favour, and were easily driven on to civil war by 
riots and rapine. He realized, however, that a throne 
gained by crime cannot be maintained by sudden 
moderation and old-fashioned dignity ; but being 
distressed by the crisis that had befallen the city and 
the danger of the senate, he finally spoke as follows : 
" Fellow soldiers, I have not come to kindle your 
sentiments into love for me, nor to exhort your 
hearts to courage, for both these qualities you have 
in marked abundance ; but I have come to ask you 
to put some check to your bravery and some limit to 
your regard for me. The recent disturbances owed 
their beginning not to any greed or hate, which are 
the sentiments that drive most armies to revolt, or 
even to any shirking or fear of danger; it was your 
excessive loyalty that spurred you to an action more 
violent than wise. Very often honourable motives 
have a fatal end, unless men employ judgment. 
We are proceeding to war. Do the exigencies of 
events or the rapid changes in the situation allow 
every report to be heard openly, every plan to be 
discussed in the presence of all ? It is as proper 
that soldiers should not know certain things as that 
they should know them. The authority of the 

141 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

auctoritas, sic rigor disciplinae habet, ut multa etiam 
centuriones tribunosque tantum iuberi expediat. Si 
cur ^ iubeantur quaerere singulis liceat, pereunte 
obsequio etiam imperium intercidit. An et illic 
nocte intenipesta rapientur arma? Unus alterve 
perditus ac teniulentus (neque enim pluris con- 
sternatione proxima insanisse crediderim) centurio- 
nis ac tribuni sanguine manus imbuet, imperatoris 
sui tentorium inrumpet? 

LXXXIV. " Vos quidem istud pro me : sed in 
discursu ac tenebris et rerum omnium confusione 
patefieri occasio etiam adversus me potest. Si 
Vitellio et satellitibus eius eligendi facultas detur, 
quem- nobis animum^quas mentis imprecentur, quid 
aliud quam seditionem et discordiam optabunt ? Ne 
miles centurioni, ne centurio tribuno obsequatur, ut 
confusi pedites equitesque in exitium ruamus. Pa- 
rendo potius, commilitones, quam imperia ducum 
sciscitando res militares continentur, et fortissimus 
in ipso discrimine exercitus est qui ante discrimen 
quietissimus. Vobis arma et aninms sit : mihi con- 
silium et virtutis vestrae regimen relinquite. Pau- 
corum culpa fuit, duorum poena erit : ceteri abolete 
memoriam foedissimae noctis. Nee illas adversus 
senatum voces ullus usquam exercitus audiat. Caput 
imperii et decora omnium provinciarum ad poenam 



1 si cur Agricola : sic ubi M. 
* quae M. 



142 



BOOK I. LXXXIII.-LXXXIV. 

leaders and strict discipline are maintained only by 
holding it wise that in many cases even centurions 
and tribunes should simply receive orders. For if 
individuals may inquire the reason for the orders given 
them, then discipline is at an end and authority also 
ceases. Suppose in the field you have to take your 
arms in the dead of night, shall one or two worthless 
and drunken men — for I cannot believe that the 
recent madness was due to the panic of more than 
that — stain their, hands in the blood of a centurion 
or tribune.'' Shall they burst into the tent of their 
general ? 

LXXXIV. "You, it is true, did that for me. But 
in time of riot, in the darkness and general con- 
fusion, an opportunity may also be given for an 
attack on me. Suppose Vitellius and his satellites 
should have an opportunity to choose the spirit and 
sentiment with which they would pray you to be 
inspired, what will they prefer to mutiny and strife? 
Will they not wish that soldier should not obey 
centurion or centurion tribune, so that we may all, 
foot and horse, in utter confusion rush to ruin .-' It 
is rather by obedience, fellow-soldiers, than by 
questioning the commands of the leaders, that 
success in war is obtained, and that is the bravest 
army in time of crisis which has been most orderly 
before the crisis. Yours be the arms and spirit ; 
leave to me the plan of campaign and the dii'ection 
of your valour. Few were at fault ; two shall pay 
the penalty : do all the rest of you blot out the 
memory of that awful night. And I pray that no 
army may ever hear such cries against the senate. 
That is the head of the ernpire and the glory of 
all the provinces ; good heavens, not even those 

143 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

vocare non hercule illi, quos cum maxime Vitellius 
in nos ciet, Germani audeant. Ulline Italiae alumni 
et Romana vere iuventus ad sanguinem et caedem 
depoposcerit ordinem, cuius splendor e et gloria sordis 
et obscuritatem Vitellianarum partium praestringi- 
mus^? Nationes aliquas occupavit Vitellius, imaginem 
quandam exercitus habet, senatus nobiscum est : sic 
fit ut hinc res publica, inde ^ hostes rei publicae 
constiterint. Quid ? Vos pulcherrimam banc urbem 
domibus et tectis et congestu lapidum stare creditis? 
Muta" ista et inanima^ intercidere ac reparari pro- 
misca sunt : aeternitas rerum et pax gentium et 
mea cum vestra salus incolumitate senatus firmatur. 
Hunc auspicato a parente et conditore urbis nostrae 
institutum et a regibus usque ad principes continuum 
et immortalem, sicut a maioribus ^ accepimus, sic 
posteris tradamus ; nam ut ex vobis senatores, ita 
ex senatoribus principes nascuntur." 

LXXXV. Et oratio apta ad ^ perstringendos mul- 
cendosque militum animos et severitatis modus (neque 
enim in pluris quam in duos animadverti iusserat) 
grate accepta compositique ad praesens qui coerceri 
non poterant. Non tamen quies urbj redierat : 
strepitus telorum et fades belli, militibus ut nihil 
in commune turbantibus, ita sparsis per domos 
occulto habitu, et maligna cura in omnis, quos 
nobilitas aut opes aut aliqua insignis claritudo 

^ praestringimus 7. F. Grovovius : perstringimus M. 
^ in M. ' inulta M. * inanima Lipsius : inania M. 

* sicamatoribus M. * apta ad Aleiser : perod M, 

144 



BOOK I. LXXXIV.-LXXXV. 

Germans whom Vitellius at this moment is stiiring 
up against us would dare to call it to punishment, 
shall any child of Italy, any true Roman youth, 
demand the blood and murder of that order through 
whose splendid glory we outshine the meanness and 
base birth of the partisans of Vitellius ? V^itellius 
has won over some peojiles ; he has a certain shadow 
of an army, but the senate is with us. And so it is 
that on our side stands the state, on theirs the 
enemies of the state. Tell me, do you think that 
this fairest city consists of houses and buildings and 
heaps of stone .'' Those dumb and inanimate things 
can perish and readily be replaced. The eternity 
of our power, the peace of the world, my safety and 
yours, are secured by the welfare of the senate. 
This senate, which was established under auspices 
by the Father and Founder of our city and which 
has continued in unbroken line from the time of the 
kings even down to the time of the emperors, let 
us hand over to posterity even as we received it 
from our fathers. For as senators spring from your 
number, so emperors spring from senators." 

LXXXV. Both this speech, well adapted as it 
was to reprove and quiet the soldiers, and also his 
moderation (for he had not ordered the punishment 
of more than two) were gratefully received, and in 
this way those who could not be checked by force 
were calmed for the present. But the city was not 
yet quiet ; there was the din of weapons and the 
face of war, for while the troops did not engage in 
any general riot, they nevertheless distributed them- 
selves in disguise among the houses and suspiciously 
kept watch on all whom high birth or wealth or 
some distinction had made the object of gossip. 

145 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

rumoribus obiecerat : Vitellianos quoque milites 
venisse in urbeni ad studia partium noscenda pleri- 
que credebant ; unde plena omnia suspicionum et 
vix secreta domuum sine formidine. Sed plurimum 
trepidationis in publico^ ut^ quemque nuntium fama 
attulisset, animum vultumque conversis^ ne diffidere 
dubiis ac pariim gaudere prosperis viderentur. 
Coacto vero in curiam senatu arduus rerum omnium 
modus, ne contumax silentium, ne suspecta libertas ; 
et privato Othoni nuper atque eadem dicenti ^ nota 
adulatio. Igitur versare sententias et hue atque 
illuc torquere, hostem et parricidam Vitellium 
vocantes, providentissimus quisque vulgaribus con- 
viciisj quidam vera probra iacere, in clamore tamen 
et ubi plurimae voces, aut tumultu verborum sibi 
ipsi obstrepentes. 

LXXXVI. Pi-odigia insuper terrebant diversis 
auctoribus vulgata : in vestibule Capitolii omissas 
habenas bigae, cui Victoria institerat, erupisse cella 
lunonis maiorem humana speciem, statuam divi lulii 
in insula Tiberini aninis sereno et immoto die ab 
occidente in orientem eonversam, prolocutum in 
Etruria bovem, insolitos animalium partus, et plura 

^ vim M. * dicenti Lipsius : dicendi M. 

^ That is ill the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, which had 
three celiac, one each for Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. 

146 



BOOK I. LXXXV.-LXXXVI. 

Most of them believed tliat soldiers of Vitellius, too, 
had come to Rome to learn the sentiments of the 
different parties, so that there was suspicion every- 
where, and the intimacy of the home was hardly 
free from fear. But there was the greatest terror 
in public, where men changed their spirit and looks 
according to the message that rumour brought at 
the moment, that they might not seem to lose heart 
over doubtful news or show too much joy over 
favourable report. Moreover, when the senate had 
assembled in the chamber, it was hard to maintain 
the proper measure in anything, that silence might 
not seem sullen or open speech suspicious; while 
Otho, who had so recently been a subject and had 
used the same terms, fully understood flattery. So 
the senators turned and twisted their proposals to 
mean this or that, many calling VitelHus an enemy 
and traitor; but the most foreseeing attacked him 
onlv with ordinarv terms of abuse, although some 
made the truth tlie basis of their insults. Still they 
did this when there was an uproar and many 
speaking, or else thev obscured their own meaning 
by a riot of words. 

LXXXVI. Prodigies which were reported on 
various authorities also contributed to the general 
terror. It was said that in the vestibule of the 
Capitol the reins of the chariot in which \'ictory 
stood had fallen from the goddess's hands, that a 
superhuman form had rushed out of Juno's chapel,^ 
that a statue of the deified Julius on the island of 
the Tiber had turned from west to east on a bright 
calm day, that an ox had spoken in Etruria, that 
animals had given birth to strange young, and that 
many other things had happened which in barbarous 

147 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

alia rudibus saeculis etiam in pace observata, quae 
nunc tantum in metu audiuntur. Sed praecipuus 
et cum praesenti exitio etiam futuri pavor subita 
inundatione Tiberis, qui immenso auctu proruto ^ 
ponte sublicio ac strage obstantis molis refusus^ non 
modo iacentia et plana urbis loca, sed secura eius 
modi casuum imj)levit : rapti e publico plerique, 
plures in tabernis et cubilibus intercepti. Fames in 
vulgus inopia quaestus et penuria alimentorum. 
Corrupta stagnantibus aquis insularum fundamenta, 
dein remeante flumine dilapsa. Utque primum 
vacuus a periculo animus fuit^ id ipsum quod paranti 
expeditionem Otboni campus Maftius et via Fla- 
minia iter belli esset obstructum, a fortuitis vel 
naturalibus causis in prodigium et omen imminentium 
cladium vertebatur. 

LXXXVII. Otho lustrata urbe et expensis belle 
consiliis, quando Poeninae Cottiaeque Alpes et ceteri 
Galliarum aditus V^itellianis exercitibus claudebantur, 
Narbonensem Galliam adgredi statuit classe valida 
et partibus fida, quod reliquos caesorum ad pontem 
Mulvium et saevitia Galbae in custodia habitos in 
numeros legionis composuerat, facta et ceteris spe ^ 
honoratae in posterum militiae. Addidit classi urba- 

^ proruto I. F. Gronovius : prorupto M. 
^ spe /. F. Gronovius : spes M. 



1 The famous Pons Sublicius, the oldest bridge across the 
Tiber. 

^ Cf. chaps. 6 and 37. 

3 Service in a legion was regarded as more honourable 
than that in the fleet, and so those who were still serving in 
the fleet looked forward to being treated as their comrades 
had been. 

148 



BOOK I. LXXXVI.-I.XXXVII. 

ages used to be noticed even during peace, but whicli 
now are only lieard of in seasons of terror. Yet the 
cliief anxiety which was connected with both present 
disaster and future danger was caused by a sudden 
overflow of the Tiber which, swollen to a great 
height, broke down the wooden bridge ^ and then 
was tlirown back by the ruins of the bridge which 
dammed the stream, and overflowed not only the 
low-lying level parts of the city, but also parts 
which are normally free from such disasters. Many 
were swept away in the public streets, a larger 
number cut off in shops and in their beds. The 
common people were reduced to famine by lack of 
employment and failure of suj)plies. Apartment 
houses had their foundations undermined by the 
standing water and then collapsed when the flood 
withdrew. The moment people's minds were 
relieved of this danger, the very fact that when 
Otho was planning a military expedition, the Campus 
Martius and the Flaminian Way, over which he was 
to advance, were blocked against him was interpreted 
as a prodigy and an omen of impending disaster 
rather than as the result of chance or natural 
causes. 

LXXX^TI. Otho purified the city and then con- 
sidered his plan for a campaign. Since the Pennine 
and Cottian Alps and the other passes into Gaul 
were closed by the forces of Vitellius, he decided to 
attack Narbonese Gaul with his fleet, which was 
strong and loyal, for he had enrolled as a legion 
those who had survived the massacre at the Mulvian 
Bridge and who had been kept in prison by Galba's 
cruelty ; ^ and so he had given the rest reason to 
hope for an honourable service hereafter.^ He 

149 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

nas cohortis et plerosque e praetorianis, viris et 
robur exercitus atque ipsis ducibus consilium et 
custodes. Summa expeditionis Antonio Novello, 
Suedio Clementi j)rimipi]aribus, Aeinilio Pacensi, cui 
ademptum a Galba tribunatum reddideratj permissa. 
Curam navium Moscluis libertiis retinebat ad obser- 
vandam honestiorum fidem immutatus. Peditum 
equitumque copiis Suetonius Paulinus, Marius Celsus, 
Annius Gallus rectores destinati, sed plurima fides 
Licinio Proculo praetorii praefecto. Is urbanae 
niiUtiae impiger, bellorum insolens, auctoritatem 
Paulini, vigorem Celsi, maturitatem Galli, ut cuique 
erat, criminandoj quod facilbmum factu est^ pravus 
et callidus bonos et modestos anteibat. 

1-XXX\TII. Sepositus per eos dies Cornelius Do- 
labella in coloniam Aquinatem, neque arta custodia 
neque obscura^ nullum ob crimen^ sed vetusto nomine 
et propinquitate Galbae monstratus. Multos e ma- 
gistratibus^ magnam consularium partem Otho non 
participes aut niinistros bello^ sed comitum specie 
secum expedire iubet, in quis et Lucium \^itellium, 
eodem quo ceteros cultu, nee ut imperatoris fratrem 
nee ut hostis. Igitur motae urbis curae ; nullus 
ordo metu aut periculo vacuus. Primores senatus 

1 Moschus had held this office under Nero and Galba. 
" Aquino. 

ICO 



BOOK I. i.vxxvii.-Lxxxviii. 

added to the fleet the cit}' cohorts and many of the 
praetorians to be the strength and back-bone of the 
army and also to advise and control the leaders 
themselves. At the head of the expedition he 
placed Antonius Novellus, Suedius Clemens^ cen- 
turions of the first rank, and Aemilius Pacensis, to 
whom he had restored the tribunate which Galba 
had taken away. His freedman Moschus, however, 
retained command of the fleet, no change being 
made in his rank, that he might keep watch over 
the fidelity of men more honourable than himself. '^ 
As commanders of the foot and horse he named 
Suetonius Paulinus, Marius Celsus, Annius Gallus, 
but he trusted most in Licinius Proculus, prefect 
of the praetorian guard. Indefatigable on home 
service, inexperienced in war, Proculus, in strict 
accordance with their individual characters, made 
the "influence " of Paulinus, the "energy" of Celsus, 
the "proved ability" of Gallus the bases of his 
accusations, and thus — nothing is easier — by dis- 
honesty and cunning outdid the virtuous and modest. 
LXXXVIII. About this time Cornelius Dolabella 
was banished to the colony of Aquinum.- He was 
not kept under close or secret watch, and no charge 
was made against him ; but he had been made 
prominent by his ancient name and his close 
relationship to Galba. Many of the magistrates and 
a large part of the ex-consuls Otho directed to join 
his expedition, not to share or help in the war but 
simply as a suite. Among these was Lucius Vitel- 
lius, who was treated in the same way as the others 
and not at all as the brother of an emperor or as an 
enemy. This action caused anxiety at Rome. No 
class was free from fear or danger. The leading men 

151 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

aetate invalid! ^ et longa pace desides, segnis et oblita 
bellorum nobilitas, ignarus militiae eques, quanto 
magis occultare et abdere pavorem nitebautur, mani- 
festius pavidi. Nee deerant e contrario qui ambi- 
tione stolida conspieua arma, insignis eqiios, quidam 
luxuriosos apparatus conviviorum et inritamenta 
libidinum ut instrumentum belli mercarentur. Sapi- 
entibus quietis et rei publicae cura ; levissimus 
quisque et futuri improvidus spe vanatiimens ; multi ^ 
adflicta fide in pace anxii,^ turbatis rebus alacres et 
per incerta tutissimi. 

LXXXIX. Sed vulgus et magnitudine nimia com- 
niunium curarum expers populus sentire paulatim 
belli mala, conversa in militum usum omni pecunia, 
intentis alimentorum pretiis, quae motu Vindicis 
baud perinde plebem attriverant, secura turn urbe 
et provinciali bello, quod inter legiones Galliasque 
velut externum fuit. Nam ex quo divus Augustus 
res Caesarum composuit, procul et in unius sollici- 
tudinem aut decus populus Romanus bellaverat ; sub 
Tiberio et Gaio tantum pacis adversa ad rem 
publicam pertinuere ^ ; Scriboniani contra Claudium 
incepta simul audita et coercita ; Nero nuntiis magis 
et rumoribus quam armis depulsus : tum legiones 

^ invalida ab. ^ multis a b. 

' anxii Nolte : ac si « 5. * ad r.p.p. Hahyi -. r.p.p. a b. 

^ Cf. II, 75. M. Furius Caniillus Scribonianus, governor 
of Dalmatia, had revolted in 42 a.d. but he had been crushed 
in five days. 



BOOK I. LXXXVIII.-LXXXIX. 

of the senate were weak from old age and had grown 
inactive through a long peace ; the nobility was 
indolent and had forgotten the art of war ; the 
knights were ignorant of military service ; the more 
all tried to hide and conceal their fear, the more 
evident they made their terror. Yet, on the other 
hand, there w-ere some who with absurd ostentation 
bought splendid arms and fine horses ; some made 
extravagant preparations for banquets and provided 
incentives to their lust as equipment for war. The 
wise had thought for })eace and for the state ; the 
foolish, careless of the future, were puffed up with 
idle hopes ; many who had been distressed by loss 
of credit during peace were now enthusiastic in this 
time of disturbance and felt safest in uncertainty. 

LXXXIX. But the mob and the mass of the 
people, whose vast numbers kept them aloof from 
cares of state, gradually began to feel the evils of 
war, for all money was now diverted to the use of 
the soldiers, and the prices of provisions rose. Such 
things had not affected the common people so much 
during the revolt of Vindex, because the city at that 
time was safe and the war was in a province ; since 
it was between the legions and the Gauls, it was 
regarded as a foreign war. In fact, from the time 
when the deified Augustus had established the power 
of the Caesars, the wars of the Roman people had 
been far from Rome and had caused anxiety or 
brought honour to a single individual alone ; under 
Tiberius and Gaius only the misfortunes of peace 
affected the state ; the attempt of Scribonianus against 
Claudius was checked the moment it was known ; ^ 
Nero had been driven from his throne rather by 
messages and rumours than by arms. But now, 

153 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

classesque et, quod raro alias, praetorianus urba- 
nusque miles in aciem deducti, Oriens Occidensque 
et quicquid utrimque virium est a tergo, si ducibus 
aliis bellatum foret, longo bello materia. Fuere qui 
proficiscenti Othoni moras religionemque nondum 
conditorum ancilium adferrent : aspernatus est om- 
nem cunctationem ut Neroni quoque exitiosam ; et 
Caecina iam Alpes transgressus extimulabat. 

XC. Pridie idus Martias commendata patribus re 
publica reliquias Neronianarum sectionum nondum 
in fiscum conversas revocatis ab exilio concessit, 
iustissimum donum et in speciem magnificum, sed 
festinata iam pridem exactione usu sterile.^ Mox 
vocata contione maiestatem urbis et consensum 
populi ac senatus pro se attollens, adversum V^itel- 
lianas partis modeste disseruit, inscitiam potius 
legionum quam audaciam increpans, nulla V'itellii 
mentione, sive ipsius ea moderatio, seu scriptor 
orationis sibi metuens contumeliis in V'itellium 
abstinuit, quando, ut in consiliis militiae Suetonio 
Paulino et Mario Celso, ita in rebus urbanis Galeri 

1 sterile Lipshis : sterili a b. 

^ The ancilia, that were used by the Salii throughout the 
month of March. 

2 Cf. chap. 20. 

^ Under Nero the confiscated properties of those who were 
sent into exile were hastily sold for what they would bring 
and the proceeds paid into the treasury, so that there was 
little left to be returned to the exiles. 

* Galerius Trachalus, cos. 68, is praised by Quintilian for 
his impressive appearance and effective delivery. 



BOOK I. Lxxxix,-xc. 

legions and fleets and, by an act almost without 
precedent, the soldiers of the praetorian and city 
cohorts were led away to action ; the East and the 
West and all the forces that both have behind them 
formed material for a long war had there been other 
leaders. There were some who attempted to delay 
Otho's departure by bringing forward the religious 
consideration that the sacred shields had not yet 
been restored to their place.^ Yet he scorned 
every delay, for delay had proved ruinous to Nero 
also ; and the fact that Caecina had already crossed 
the Alps spurred him on. 

XC. On the fourteenth of March, after entrusting 
the interests of state to the senate, he granted to 
those who had been recalled from exile all that was 
left from the sales of property confiscated by Nero, 
so far as the monies had not yet been paid into 
the Imperial Treasury,-— a most just donation, and 
one that was generous in appearance ; but it was 
worthless because the property had been hastily 
realized on long before.^ Then he called an assembly, 
extolled the majesty of Rome, and praised the en- 
thusiasm of the people and senate in his behalf. 
Against the party of Vitellius he spoke with modera- 
tion, blaming the legions for their ignorance rather 
than boldness, and making no mention of Vitellius. 
This omission may have been moderation on his part, 
or the man who wrote his speech may have omitted 
all insults towards Vitellius, fearing for himself. This 
is probable, because it was generally believed that 
Otho employed the ability of Galerius Trachalus 
in civil matters,* as he did that of Suetonius Paulinus 
and Marius Celsus in planning his military move- 
ments, and there were some who recognized the very 

'55 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Trachali ingenio Othonem uti credebatur ; et erant 
qui genus ipsum orandi nosceient, crebro fori usu 
celebre et^ ad implendas populi aures latum et sonans. 
Clamor vocesque vulgi ex more adulandi nimiae et 
falsae : quasi dictatorem Caesarem aut imperatorem 
Augustum prosequerenturj ita studiis votisque certa- 
bant, nee metu aut amore, sed ex libidine ser\ itii : 
ut in familiis, privata cuique stimulatio,^ et vile iam 
decus publicum. Profectus Otho quietem urbis 
curasque imperii Salvio Titiano fratri permisit. 

^ et om. ab. ^ simulatio ab. 



156 



BOOK I. xc. 

style of TrachaluSj which was well known, because 
he frequently appeared in court, and which was 
copious and sonorous in order to fill the ears of the 
people. The shouts and cries from the mob, according 
to their recognized fashion of flattering an emperor, 
were excessive and insincere. Men vied with one 
another in the expression of their enthusiasm and 
vows, as if they were applauding the Dictator Caesar 
or the Emperor Augustus. They did this, not from 
fear or affection, but from their passionate love of 
servitude. As happens in households of slaves, each 
one was spurred on by his private motive, and the 
honour of the state was held cheap. When Otho 
set out, he left the good order of the city and the 
cares of empire in the charge of his brother, 
Salvius Titianus. 



'57 



BOOK II 



LIBER II 

I. Struebat iam foi'tuna in diversa parte terrarum 
iiiitia causasque imperio, quod varia sorte^ laetum rei 
publicae aut atrox, ipsis principibus prosperum vel 
exitio fuit. Titus Vespasianus, e ludaea incolumi 
adhuc Galba missus a patre, causam profectionis 
officium erga principem et maturam petendis lioiio- 
ribus iuventani ferebat, sed vulgus fingendi avidum 
disperserat accitum in adoptionem. Materia sermoni- 
bus senium et orbitas principis et intemperantia 
civitatis, donee unus eligatur, multos destinandi. 
Augebat famam ipsius Titi ingenium quantaecumque 
fortunae capax, decor oris ^ cum quadam maiestate, 
prosperae Vespasiani res, praesaga responsa, et 
inclinatis ad credendum animis loco ominum etiam 
fortuita.3 Ubi Corinthi, Achaiae urbe, certos nuntios 
accepit de interitu Galbae et aderant qui arma 
Vitellii bellumque adfirmarent, anxius animo paucis 
amicorum adhibitis cuncta utrimque perlustrat : si 

^ varia sorte Lipsius : varie ortum a h. 
^ decor oris Rhenanus : decoris a h. 
^ fortnita Grotius : fortuna a b. 

^ Vespasian and Titus were good emperors; but Doniitian 
was a second Nero. He was assassinated at the instigation 
of the Empress Domitia. 

* Titus was now twenty-nine years of age. 

1 60 



BOOK II 

I. Fortune was already, in an opposite quarter ot 
the world, founding and making ready for a new 
dynasty, which from its varying destinies brought 
to the state joy or misery, to the emperors them- 
selves success or doom.^ Titus Vespasianus had 
been dispatched by his father from Judea while 
Galba was still aUve. The reason given out for his 
journey was a desire to pay his respects to the 
emperor, and the fact that Titus was now old enough 
to begin his political career.^ But the common 
people, who are always ready to invent, had spread 
the report that he had been summoned to Rome to 
be adopted. This gossip was based on the emperor's 
age and childlessness, and Avas due also to the popular 
passion for designating many successors until one is 
chosen. The report gained a readier hearing from 
the nature of Titus himself, which was equal to the 
highest fortune, from his personal beauty and a 
certain majesty which he possessed, as well as from 
Vespasian's good fortune, from prophetic oracles, and 
even from chance occurrences which, amid the general 
credulity, were regarded as omens. When Titus 
received certain information with regard to Galba's 
death he was at Corinth, a city of Achaia, and met 
men there who positively declared that Vitellius had 
taken up arms and begun war ; in his anxiety he 
called a few of his friends and reviewed fully the 
two possible courses of action : if he should go on 

i6i 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

pergeret in urbem, nullam officii gratiam in alterius 
honorem suscepti, ac se Vitellio sive Othoni obsidem 
fore : sin rediret^ offensam baud dubiam victoris, set^ 
incerta adbuc victoria ^ et concedente in partis patre 
fibum excusatum. Sin Vespasianus rem piibbcam 
susciperet, obbviscendum offensarum de bello agi- 
tantibus. 

II. His ac talibus inter spem metumque iactatum 
spas vicit. Fuerunt qui accensum desiderio Berenices 
reginae vertisse iter crederent ; neque abhorrebat a 
Berenice iuvenibs animus, sed gerendis rebus nullum 
ex eo impedimentum. Lactam voluptatibus adule- 
scentiam egit, suo quam patris imperio moderatior. 
Igitur oram Achaiae et Asiae ac laeva maris prae- 
vectuS;, Rhodum et Cyprum insulas, inde Syriam 
audentioribus spatiis petebat. Atque ilium cupido 
incessit adeundi visendique templum Paphiae Veneris, 
inclitum per indigenas advenasque. Haud fuerit 
longum initia religionis, templi ritum,^ formam deae 
(neque enim alibi sic habetur) paucis disserere. 

III. Conditorem templi regem Aeriam* vetus 
memoria, quidam ipsius deae nomen id perhibent. 
Fama recentior tradit a Cinyra sacratum templum 

^ set llhenanus : et a 6. 

- inceitam adhuc victoris a h. 

^ ritum Bureau de Lamalle : situm .)/. 

* Aeriam Rhenanus : verian M. 



* Berenice, daughter of Herodes Agrippa I and sister of 
Herodes Agrippa II, had been married tirst to her uncle 
Herodes, king of Chalcis, later to King Polenio of Pontus, 
whom she left. She supported the Flavian cause and 
later followed Titus to Rome. Cf. Acts 25, 13. 23 ; Suet. 
Tit. 7. 

162 



BOOK II. i.-iii. 

to Rome, he would enjoy no gratitude for an act of 
courtesy intended for another emperor, and he would 
be a hostage in the hands of either Vitellius or Otho ; 
on the other hand, if he I'eturned to his father, the 
victor would undoubtedly feel offence ; yet, if his 
father joined the victor's party, while victory was 
still uncertain, the son would be excused ; but if 
Vespasian should assume the imperial office, his 
rivals would be concerned with war and have to 
forget offences. 

II. These considerations and others like them 
made him waver between hope and fear ; but hope 
finally won. Some believed that he turned back 
because of his passionate longing to see again Queen 
Berenice ; and the young man's heart was not 
insensible to Berenice, but his feelings towards her 
proved no obstacle to action.^ He spent his youth 
in the delights of self-indulgence, but he showed 
more self-restraint in his own reign than in that of 
his father. So at this time he coasted along the 
shores of Achaia and Asia, leaving the land on the 
left, and made for the islands of Rhodes and Cyprus ; 
from Cyprus he struck out boldly for Syria. While 
he was in Cyprus, he was overtaken by a desire to 
visit and examine the temple of Paphian V^enus, 
which was famous both among natives and strangers. 
It may not prove a wearisome digression to discuss 
briefly the origin of this cult, the temple ritual, and 
the form under which the goddess is worshipped, for 
she is not so represented elsewhere. 

III. The founder of the temple, according to 
ancient tradition, was King Aerias. Some, however, 
say that this was the name of the goddess herself 
A more recent tradition reports that the temple was 

163 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

deamque ipsam conceptam mari hue adpulsam ; sed 
scientiam artemque haruspicum accitam et Cilicem 
Tamiram intulisse, atque ita pactum ut familiae 
utriusque posted caerimoniis praesiderent. Mox, ne 
honore nullo regium genus peregrinam stirpem ante- 
celleret, ipsa quam intulerant scientia hospites 
eessere : tantum Cinyrades sacerdos consulitur. 
Hostiae, ut quisque vovit, sed mares deliguntur : 
certissima fides haedorum fibris. Sanguinem arae 
obfundere vetitum : precibus et igne puro altaria 
adolentur, nee ullis imbribus quamquam in aperto 
madescunt. Simulacrum deae non effigie liumana, 
continuus orbis latiore initio tenuem in ambitum 
metae modo exsurgens, set ratio in obscuro. 

IV. Titus spectata opulentia donisque regum 
quaeque alia laetum antiquitatibus Graecorum genus 
incertae vetustati adfingit, de navigatione primum 
consul uit. Postquam pandi viam et mare prosperum 
accepit, de se per axiibages ^ interrogat caesis complu- 
ribus hostiis. Sostratus (sacerdotis id nomen erat) 
ubi laeta et congruentia exta magnisque consultis 
adnuere deam videt, pauca in praesens et solita re- 
spond ens, petito secreto futura aperit. Titus aucto 

^ perambales M. 

^ A mythical king, father of Adonis and Myrrha. 

* i.e. the symbol of the goddess was a conical stone, not 
unlike the turning-posts {metae) in the circus. Cf. Serviua 
on the Aen. i. 724 and Maxim. Tyr. viii. 8. 

164 



BOOK II. iii.-iv. 

consecrated by Cinyras,^ and that the goddess herself, 
after she sprang from the sea, was wafted hither ; 
but that the science and method of divination were 
imported from abroad by the Cilician Tamiras, and 
so it was agreed that the descendants of both 
Tamiras and Cinyras should preside over the sacred 
rites. It is also said that in a later time the foreigners 
gave up the craft that they had introduced, that 
the royal family might have some prerogative over 
foreign stock. Only a descendant of Cinyras is now 
consulted as priest. Such victims are accepted as 
the individual vows, but male ones are preferred. 
The greatest confidence is put in the entrails of 
kids. Blood may not be shed upon the altar, but 
offering is made only with prayers and pure fire. 
The altar is never wet by any rain, although it is 
in the open air. The representation of the goddess 
is not in human form, but it is a circular mass that 
is broader at the base and rises like a turning-post 
to a small circumference at the top.^ The reason 
for this is obscure. 

IV. After Titus had examined the treasures, the 
gifts made by kings, and all those other things 
which the Greeks from their delight in ancient tales 
attribute to a dim antiquity, he asked the oracle 
first with regard to his voyage. On learning that 
his path was open and the sea favourable, he slew 
many victims and then questioned indirectly about 
himself. When Sostratus, for such was the priest's 
name, saw that the entrails were uniformly favour- 
able and that the goddess favoured great under- 
takings, he made at the moment a brief reply in 
the usual fashion, but asked for a private interview 
in which he disclosed the future. Greatly en- 

165 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

animo ad patrem pervectus suspensis provinciarum 
et exercituum mentibus ingens rerum fiducia 
accessit. 

Profligaverat bellum ludaicum Vespasianus, obpug- 
natione Hierosolymorum reiiqua, duro magis et 
arduo opere ob ingenium montis et pervicaciam 
superstitionis quam quo satis viriuni obsessis ad 
tolerandas necessitates superesset. Tres, ut supra 
memoravimus, ipsi V^espasiano legiones erant, exer- 
citae bello : quattuor Mueianus obtinebat in pace, 
sed aemulatio et proximi exercitus gloria depulerat 
segnitiam, quantumque illis roboris discrimina et 
labor, tan.tum his vigoris addiderat integra quies et 
inexperti belli amor.^ Auxilia utrique cohortium 
alarumque et classes regesque ac nomen dispari 
fama celebre. 

V. Vespasianus acer militiae anteire agmen, locum 
castris capere, noctu diuque consilio ac, si res posceret, 
manu hostibus obniti, cibo fortuito, veste habituque 
vix a gregario milite discrepans ; prorsus, si avaritia 
abesset, antiquis ducibus par. Mucianum e contrario 
magnificentia et opes et cuncta privatum modum 

^ amor Orelli : labor M. 

1 Cf. i. 10 and 76. 

* That is, Syria. 

^ The fleets of Egypt, S3Tia, and Pontus were at their 
disposal, while they could count on the active support of 
Antiochus of Comraagene, Herodes Agrippa II of Peraea, 
and Sohaemus of Sophene. 

1 66 



BOOK II. iv.-v. 

couraged, Titus sailed on to his father ; his arrival 
brought a great accession of confidence to the pro- 
vincials and to the troops^ who were in a state of 
anxious uncertainty. 

Vespasian had almost put an end to the war 
with the Jews. The siege of Jerusalem^, however, 
remained, a task rendered difficult and arduous by 
the character of the mountain-citadel and the 
obstinate superstition of the Jews rather than by 
any adequate resources which the besieged possessed 
to withstand the inevitable hardships of a siege. 
As we have stated above/ Vespasian himself had 
three legions experienced in war. Mucianus was 
in command of four in a peaceful province,^ but a 
spirit of emulation and the glory won by the neigh- 
bouring army had banished from his troops all 
inclination to idleness, and just as dangers and toils 
had given Vespasian's troops power of resistance, so 
those of Mucianus had gained vigour from unbroken 
repose and that love of war which springs from 
inexperience. Both generals had auxiliary infantry 
and cavalry, as well as fleets and allied kings ;^ while 
each possessed a famous name, though a different 
reputation. 

V. Vespasian was energetic in war. He used to 
march at the head of his troops, select a place for 
camp, oppose the enemy night and day with wise 
strategy and, if occasion demanded, with his own 
hands. His food was whatever chance offered ; in 
his dress and bearing he hardly differed from the 
common soldier. He would have been quite equal 
to the generals of old if he had not been avaricious. 
Mucianus, on the other hand, was eminent for his 
magnificence and wealth and by the complete 

167 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

supergressa extollebant ; aptior sermone, dispositu 
provisuque civilium rerum peritus : egregium princi- 
patus temperamentum, si demptis utriusque vitiis 
solae virtutes miscerentur. Ceterum hie Syriae, ille 
ludaeae praepositus, vicinis provinciarum administra- 
tionibus invidia discordes, exitu demum Neronis 
positis odiis in medium consuluere, primum per 
amicos, dein praecipua concordiae fides Titus prava 
certamina communi utilitate aboleverat, natura atque 
arte compositus adliciendis etiam Muciani moribus. 
Tribuni centurionesque et vulgus militum industria 
licentia, per virtutes per voluptates, ut cuique in- 
genium^ adsciscebantur. 

VI. Antequam Titus adventaret sacramentum 
Othonis acceperat uterque exercitus, praecipitibus, 
ut adsolet, nuntiis et tarda mole civilis belli, quod 
longa Concordia quietus Oriens tunc primum parabat. 
Namque olim validissima inter se civium arma in 
Italia Galliave viribus Occidentis coepta ; et Pompeio, 
Cassio, Bruto, Antonio, quos omnis trans mare 
secutum est civile bellum, baud prosperi exitus 
fuerant ; auditique^ saepius in Syria ludaeaque 
Caesares quam inspecti. Nulla seditio legionum, 
tantum adversus Parthos minae, vario eventu ; et 

* aditique M. 

x68 



BOOK II. v.-vi. 

superiority of his scale of life to that of a private 
citizen. He was the readier speaker^ experienced 
in civil administration and in statesmanship. It 
would have been a rare combination for an emperor 
if the faults of the two could have been done away 
with and their virtues only combined in one man. 
But Mucianus was governor of Syria, Vespasian 
of Judea. They had quarrelled through jealousy 
because they governed neighbouring provinces. 
Finally at Nero's death they had laid aside their 
hostilities and consulted together, at first through 
friends as go-betweens ; and then Titus, the chief 
bond of their concord, had ended their dangerous feud 
by pointing out their common interests ; both by his 
nature and skill he was well calculated to win over 
even a person of the character of Mucianus. Tribunes, 
centurions, and the common soldiers were secured for 
the cause by industry or by licence, by virtues or by 
pleasures, according to the individual's character. 

VI. Before Titus arrived, both armies had taken 
the oath of allegiance to Otho, for news came 
quickly as usual, while it was a slow and laborious 
task to set in motion civil war, for which the Orient, 
after its long period of quiet and peace, was then 
for the first time preparing. For in former times 
the most violent civil struggles had been begun in 
Italy or Gaul with the resources of the West, and 
Pompey, Cassius, Brutus, and Anthony, all of whom 
had been followed over-sea by civil strife, had come 
to no happy ends ; and in Syria and Judea the 
Caesars had been oftener heard of than seen. There 
was no mutiny on the part of the legions, only some 
threatening demonstrations against the Parthians 
which met with varied success. In the last civil 

169 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

proximo civili bello turbatis aliis inconcussa ibi pax, 
dein fides erga Galbam. Mox, ut Othonem ac Vitel- 
lium scelestis armis res Romanas raptum ire vulgatum 
est, ne penes ceteros imperii praemia, penes ipsos 
tantum servitii necessitas esset, fremere miles et 
viris suas circiimspicere. Septem legiones statim et 
cum ingentibus auxiliis Syria ludaeaque ; inde con- 
tinua Aegyptus duaeque legiones, bine Cappadocia 
Pontusque et quicquid castrorum Armeniis prae- 
tenditur. Asia et ceterae provinciae nee virorum 
inopes et pecunia ^ opulentae. Quantum insularum 
mari cingitur, et parando interim bello secundum 
tutumque ipsum mare. 

VII. Non fallebat duces impetus militum, sed 
bellantibus aliis placuit expectari. Bello civili 2 
victores victosque numquam solida fide coalescere, 
nee referre V^itellium an Othonem superstitem for- 
tuna faceret. Rebus secundis etiam egregios duces 
insolescere : discordia militis ignavia luxurie ^ et 
suismet vitiis alterum bello, alterum victoria peri- 
turum. Igitur arma in occasionem distulere, Ves- 
pasianus Mucianusque nuper, ceteri olim mixtis 

1 pecunia Bitter : pecuniae J/. 
^ bello civili Heinisch : bellu cu /n M. 

' discordiam militis ignavia luxurie Madvig : discordiam 
his ignaviam luxui'i^ M. 

170 



BOOK II. vi.-vii, 

struggle, while other provinces had been shaken, in 
the East peace was undisturbed, and then adhesion 
to Galba followed. Presently, when the news spread 
abroad that Otho and Vitellius were proceeding with 
their impious arms to make spoil of the imperial 
power, the soldiers began to murmur and examine 
their own resources, that the rewards of empire 
might not fall to the rest, to them only the necessity 
of servitude. They could count at once on seven 
legions, and they had besides Syria and Judea with 
the great auxiliary forces that they could furnish ; 
immediately on the one side there was Egypt with two 
legions, on the other Cappadocia and Pontus and all 
the garrisons stationed aloncr the Armenian border. 
Asia and the rest of the pi'ovinces were not poor in 
men of military age and were rich in money. Besides 
tliere were all the islands of the Mediterranean and 
the Mediterranean itself, which was convenient and 
a source of safety to them in the interval while they 
were preparing for war. 

VII. The generals did not fail to notice the ardour 
of the soldiers, but they decided, while others fought, 
to await the issue. They knew that the victors and the 
vanquished in civil war never unite in any complete 
good faith, and that it made no difference whether 
it was V itellius or Otho whom Fortune allowed to 
survive. In prosperity, they reflected, even great 
generals degenerate ; here one of the contestants 
would perish in the field from the mutiny, sloth, 
and luxury of his soldiers, as well as from his own 
faults ; the other contestant would meet his doom 
through success. Therefore Vespasian and Mucianus 
postponed the war until a more favourable oppor- 
tunity, having recently agreed to act in concert, 

171 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

consiliis ; optimus quisque amore rei publicae^ multos 
dulcedo praedarum stimulabat, alios ambiguae domi 
res : ita boni malique causis diversis^ studio pari^ 
bellum omnes cupiebant. 

VIII. Sub idem tempus Achaia atque Asia falso 
exterritae velut Nero adventaret, vario super exitu 
eius rumore eoque pluribus vivere eum fingentibus 
credentibusque. Ceterorum casus conatusque in con- 
textu operis dicemus : tunc servus e Ponto sive, 
ut alii tradidere, libertinus ex Italia, citharae et 
cantus peritus, unde illi super similitudinem oris 
propior ad fallendum fides, adiunctis desertoribus, 
quos inopia v^agos ingentibus promissis corruperat, 
mare ingreditur ; ac vi tempestatum Cythnum insu- 
1am detrusus et militum quosdam ex Oriente com- 
meantium adscivit vel abnuentis interfici iussit, et 
sjioliatis negotiatoribus mancipiorum valentissimum 
quemque armavit. Centurionemque Sisennam dex- 
tras, concordiae insignia, Syriaci exercitus nomine 
ad praetorianos ferentem variis artibus adgressus est, 
donee Sisenna clam relicta insula trepidus et vim 
metuens aufugeret. Inde late terror : multi ad 
celebritatem nominis erecti^ rerum novarum cupi- 
dine et odio praesentium. Gliscentem in dies famam 
fors discussit. 

* erecti Weissenhorn : erectis M. 

^ The portions of the Histories referred to here are now 
lost. 

2 Cf. i. 54 

172 



BOOK II. vii.-viii. 

while the others had come to an agreement long 
since : the best were moved by love for the state, many 
by the attractions of spoil, others by their private 
embarrassments. So all, both good and bad, were 
eager for war with equal zeal but for different reasons. 
VIII. About this time Achaia and Asia were 
terrified by a false rumour of Nero's arrival. The 
reports with regard to his death had been varied, 
and therefore many people imagined and believed 
that he was alive. The fortunes and attempts of 
otlier pretenders we shall tell as we proceed ; ^ but 
at this time, a slave from Pontus or, as others have 
reported, a freedman from Italy, who was skilled in 
playing on the cithara and in singing, gained the 
readier belief in his deceit through these accom- 
plishments and his resemblance to Nero. He re- 
cruited some deserters, poor tramps whom he had 
bribed by great promises, and put to sea. A violent 
storm drove him to the island of Cythnus, where 
he called to his standard some soldiers who were 
returning from the East on leave, or ordered them 
to be killed if they refused. Then he robbed the 
merchants, and armed all the ablest-bodied of their 
slaves, A centurion, Sisenna, who was carrying 
clasped right hands,^ the symbol of friendship, to 
the praetorians in the name of the army in Syria, 
the pretender approached with various artifices, 
until Sisenna in alarm and fearing violence secretly 
left the island and made his escape. Then the 
alarm spread far and wide. Many came eagerly 
forward at the famous name, prompted by their 
desire for a change and their hatred of the present 
situation. The fame of the pretender was increasing 
from day to day when a chance shattered it. 

173 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

IX. Galatiani ac Pamphyliam provincias Calpurnio 
Asprenati regendas Galba permiserat. Datae e classe 
Misenensi duae triremes ad prosequendum, cum 
quibus Cythnum ^ insulam tenuit : nee defuere qui 
trierarchos nomine Neronis accirent. Is in maestitiam 
compositus et fidem suorum quondam militum invo- 
cans, ut eum in Syria aut Aegypto sisterent orabat. 
Trierarchi,- nutantes seu doloj adloquendos sibi milites 
et paratis omnium animis reversuros firmaverunt. 
Sed Asprenati cuncta ex fide nuntiata, cuius cohorta- 
tione expugnata navis et interfectus quisquis ille 
erat. Corpus, insigne oculis comaque et torvitate 
vultus, in Asiam atque inde Romam pervectum est. 

X. In civitate discordi et ob^ crebras principum 
mutationes inter libertatem ac licentiam incerta 
parvae quoque res magnis motibus agebantur. Vibius 
Crispus, pecunia potentia ingenio inter claros niagis 
quam inter bonos, Annium Faustum equestris ordinis, 
qui temporibus Neronis delationes factitaverat, ad 
cognitionem senatus vocabat ; nam recens Galbae 
principatu censuerant patres, ut accusatorum causae 
noscerentur. Id senatus consultum varie iactatum 
et, prout potens vel inops reus inciderat, infirmum 
aut validum, retinebat adluic aliquid^ terroris. Et 
propria vi Crispus incubuerat delatorem fratris sui 

^ Cythnum Frohenius : scithinuin M. ^ trierarchia M. 
' hoc M. ■* alicjuid siqrpl. Jacob. 

* C alalia, Pampliylia, and Lycia now formed one province. 

* Vibius Secundus, who had been banished under Nero for 
extortion in Mauretania. 

174 



BOOK II. ix.-x. 

IX. The provinces of Galatia and Pamphylia* 
had been entrusted by Galba to Calpurnius Asprenas, 
who had been given as escort two triremes from the 
fleet at Misenum. With these Calpurnius reached 
the island of Cythnus, where there were many who 
tried to win over the captains in Nero's name. 
The pretender, assuming a look of sorrow and call- 
ing on the soldiers, once his own, for protection, 
begged them to land him in Syria or Egypt. The 
captains, either hesitating or acting with craft, 
declared that they must address their soldiers and 
that they would return after they had prepared tlie 
minds of all. But they faithfully reported every- 
thing to Asprenas, at whose bidding they captured 
the pretender's ship and killed him, whoever he was. 
His body, which was remarkable for its eyes, hair, 
and grim face, was carried to Asia and from there to 
Rome. 

X. In a state distracted by civil strife and waver- 
ing between liberty and licence because of the 
frequent changes of em|)erors, even smaller matters 
caused excitement. Vibius Crispus, whose money, 
power, and ability caused him to be ranked with 
the jirominent rather than among the good, sum- 
moned for trial before the senate Annius Faustus, 
a knight, who had been an informer under Nero ; 
for the senate had voted recently in the reign of 
Galba that informers might be brought to trial. 
This vote of the senate had had various fortunes 
and had been weak or effective according to the 
power or poverty of the defendant; yet it still 
retained some of its terror. Moreover, Crispus had 
used his own power to the uttermost to ruin the 
man who had informed against his brother,^ and had 

175 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

pervertere, traxeratque magnam senatus partem, ut 
jndefensum et inauditum dedi ad exitium postularent. 
Contra apud alios nihil aeque reo proderat quam 
nimia potentia accusatoris : dari tempus, edi crimina, 
quamvis invisum ac nocentetn more tamen audien- 
dum censebant. Et valuere primo dilataque in 
paucos dies cognitio : mox damnatus est Faustus, 
nequaquam eo adsensu civitatis quern pessimis mori- 
bus meruerat : quippe ipsum Crispum easdem 
accusationes cum praemio exercuisse meminerant, 
nee poena criminis sed ultor displicebat. 

XI. Laeta interim Othoni principia belli, motis 
ad imperium eius e Dalmatia Pannoniaque exerci- 
tibus. Fuere quattuor legiones, e quibus bina milia 
praemissa ; ipsae modicis intervallis sequebantur, 
septima a Galba conscripta, veteranae undecima ac 
tertia decima et praecipui fama quartadecumani, 
rebellione Britanniae compressa. Addiderat gloriam 
Nero eligendo ut potissimos, unde longa illis erga 
Neronem fides et erecta in Othonem studia. Sed 
quo plus virium ac roboris e fiducia tarditas inerat. 
Agmen legionum alae cohortesque praeveniebant ; 
et ex ipsa urbe baud spernenda manus, quinque 



^ Brought by Galba with him from Spain. Cf. i. 6. 
* Therevoltof 61 A.D.,ledbyBoudicca. Cf. Ann. ±\\'.29ff., 
and Agricola 15 ff. 

176 



BOOK II. x.-xi. 

prevailed upon a large part of the senate to demand 
that Annius should be given over for execution 
without defence and unheard. But, on the other 
hand, nothing helped the defendant with other 
senators so much as the excessive power of his 
accuser. They voted that time be allowed, the 
charges published, and that no matter how odious 
and guilty the defendant might be, yet he must 
be heard according to precedent. They prevailed 
at first and the case was put off for a few days. 
Later Faustus was condemned, but by no means 
with that unanimity of feeling on the part of the 
citizens which he had deserved by his infamous 
character ; for they remembered that Crispus had 
likewise been an informer to his own profit, and 
they felt displeasure not at the penalty but at the 
would-be avenger. 

XI. In the meantime the war had begun favour- 
ably for Otho. At his command the armies had 
moved from Dalmatia and Pannonia. There were 
four legions in all ; two thousand of each were sent 
in advance of the main body. The legions proper 
followed at no long interval. The Seventh had been 
enrolled by Galba,^ but the Eleventh, Thirteenth, 
and Fourteenth were veterans ; the last enjoyed 
great reputation for crushing the revolt in Britain. ^ 
Nero had added to their fame by selecting them as 
his best soldiers, so that they had long been loyal 
towards him and were enthusiastic for Otho. But 
their power and strength were matched by a self- 
confidence that made their advance slow. The main 
line of the legion was preceded by allied cavalry 
and infantry. There was also a force drawn from 
Rome itself which was not to be despised, five 

177 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

praetoriae cohortes et equitum vexilla cum legione 
prima, ac deforme insuper auxilium, duo milia gla- 
diatorum, sed per civilia arma etiam severis ducibus 
usurpatum. His copiis rector additus Annius Gallus, 
cum Vestricio Spurinna ad occupandas Padi ripas 
praemissuSj quoniam prima consiliorum frustra ceci- 
derant, transgresso lam Alpis Caecina, quem sisti 
intra Gallias posse speraverat. Ipsum Othonem 
comitabantur speculatorum leeta corpora cum ceteris 
praetoriis cohortibus, veterani e praetorio, classi- 
corum ingens numerus. Nee illi segne aut cor- 
ruptum luxu iter, sed lorica ferrea usus est et ante 
signa pedes ire/ horridus, incomptus famaeque 
dissimilis. 

XII, Blandiebatur coeptis for tuna, possessa per 
mare et navis maiore Italiae parte penitus usque ad 
initium maritimarum Alpium, quibus temptandis 
adgrediendaeque provinciae Narbonensi Suedium 
Clementem, Antonium Novellum, Aemilium Pa- 
censem duces dederat. Sed Pacensis per licentiam 
militum vinctus, Antonio Novello nulla auctoritas : 
Suedius Clemens ambitioso imperio regebat, ut 
adversus modestiam disciplinae corruptus,^ ita proe- 
liorum avidus. Non Italia adiri nee loca sedesque 
patriae videbantur : tamquam externa litora et urbes 

^ pedes ire Madvig : pedestre M. 
^ corniptius M. 

1 Cf. i. 87. 
178 



BOOK II. xi.-xii. 

praetorian coliorts and detachments of cavalry with 
the First legion. Besides these, there was a dis- 
reputable kind of auxiliary force — two thousand 
gladiators — but it was a means resorted to even by 
strict generals in civil war. Over these troops Annius 
Callus was put in command. He had been sent 
on with Vestricius Spurinna to seize the banks of 
the Po, since Otho's first plans had come to naught, 
for Caecina had already crossed the Alps, whereas 
Otho had ho})ed he could be stopped in Gaul. 
Otho himself was accompanied by a selected body- 
guard together with the rest of the praetorian 
cohorts, as well as by veteran praetorians and a great 
number of marines. He did not march slowly or 
disgrace his advance by luxury, but wearing an iron 
breastplate he preceded the standards on foot, rough, 
negligent of his person, and the opposite of his 
reputation. 

XII. At first foi'tune smiled upon his undertaking. 
Since his fleets, which controlled the sea, made him 
master of the greater part of Italy up to the point 
w here the maritime Alps begin, he had allotted the 
task of forcing the Alps and attacking the province 
of Xarbonensis to the generals Suedius Clemens, 
Antonius Novellus, and Aemilius Pacensis.^ But 
Pacensis was put in chains by his mutinous 
soldiers; Antonius Novellus had no authority; and 
Suedius Clemens used his office to secure popularity, 
being as reckless toward maintaining discipline as 
he was eager to fight. It did not seem as if it 
were Italy and the haunts and homes of their 
native land that Otho's troops were approaching. 
They burned, devastated, and looted, as if they 
were on foreign shores and in an enemy's cities ; 

179 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

hostium urere, vastare, rapere eo atrocius quod nihil 
usquam provisum adversum metus. Pleni agri, 
apertae domus ; occursantes domini iuxta coniuges 
et liberos securitate pacis et belli malo circumvenie- 
bantur. Maritimas turn Alpis tenebat procurator 
Marias Maturus. Is concita gente (nee deest iu- 
ventus) arcere provinciae finibus Othonianos in- 
tendit : sed prlmo impetu caesi disiectique montani, 
ut quibus temeie colleetis, non castra, non ducem 
noscitantibus^ neque in victoria decus esset neque 
in fuga flagitium. 

XIII. Inritatus eo proelio Othonis miles vertit 
iras in municipium Albintimilium. Quippe in acie 
nihil praedae, inopes agrestes et vilia arma ; iiec 
capi poterantj pernix genus et gnari locorum : sed 
calamitatibus insontium expleta avaritia. Auxit 
invidiam praeclaro exemplo femina Ligus, quae filio 
abditOj cum simul pecuniam occultari milites credi- 
dissent eoque per cruciatus interrogarent ubi filium 
occuleret, uterum ostendens ibi ^ latere resjjondit, 
nee uUis deinde terroribus aut morte constantiam 
vocis egregiae mutavit. 

1 ibi suppl. Ernest i. 

^ Ventimiglia, 



BOOK II. xii.-xiii. 

and their action was the more horrible, for no pro- 
vision had been made anywhere to oppose their 
terrifying advance. The fields were filled with 
workers, the houses open. The owners of estates 
who hurried to meet them with their wives 
and children, in the security which peace war- 
rants, were overwhelmed by the horrors of war. 
At this time the Maritime Alps were governed by 
the procurator Marius Maturus. Summoning to 
arms the people, among whom there is no lack of 
vigorous men, he proposed to keep Otho's troops 
from entering his province ; but the mountaineers 
were cut to pieces and scattered at the first onset, 
as was natural with men who had been hastily 
collected and were not accustomed to a military 
camp or a regular leader, and so saw no glory in 
victory and no disgrace in flight. 

XIII. Provoked by this battle, Otho's troops 
vented their rage on the town of Albintimilium,^ 
for on the field of battle they had gained no booty, 
since the rustics were poor and their arms of no 
value ; nor had they been able to make captives, 
since the people were fleet of foot and familiar 
with the locality. But the invaders satisfied their 
greed with the misfortunes of the innocent. The 
horror of their action was aggravated by the 
glorious example of a woman of Liguria, who liad 
hidden her son. Since the soldiers believed that 
she had hidden money at the same time, they 
tortured her and asked where she had concealed 
her son ; she pointed to her womb, answering, 
" Here is his hiding-place." Thereafter neither 
terrors nor death itself made her falter or change 
her noble reply. 

i8i 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

XIV. Imminere provinciae Narbonensi, in verba 
Vitellii adactae, classem Othonis trepidi nuntii Fabio 
Valenti attulere ; aderant legati coloniarum auxilium 
orantes. Duas Tungrorum cohortiSj quattuor equi- 
tum turmas, universam Trevirorum alam ^ cum lulio 
Classico praefecto niisit, e quibus pars in colonia 
Foroiuliensi retenta, ne omnibus copiis in terrestre 
iter versis vacuo mari classis adceleraret. Duode- 
cim equitum turmae et lecti e cohortibus adversus 
hostem iere, quibus adiuncta Ligurum cohors, vetus 
loci auxilium, et quingenti Pannonii, nondum sub 
signis. Nee mora proelio : sed acies ^ ita instructa 
ut pars classicorum mixtis paganis in collis mari 
pro})inquos exsurgeret, quantum inter collis ac litus 
aequi loci praetorianus miles expleret, in ipso mari 
ut adnexa classis et pugnae parata conversa et 
minaci fronte praetenderetur : \'itelliani, quibus 
minor peditum vis, in equite robur, Alpinos proximis 
iugis, cohortis densis ordinibus post equitem^ locant. 
Trevirorum turmae obtulere se hosti incaute, cum 
exciperet contra veteranus miles, simul a latere saxis 
urgeret apta ad iaciendum etiam paganorum manus. 



^ universa mire virorum M. 
^ acies Eioperti : acie .1/. 
' quietem M. 



^ Frejus. 

^ The Ligurians just mentioned. 



182 



BOOK II. XIV. 

XIV. Meantime panic-stricken messengers brought 
news to Fabius Valens that Otho's fleet was threat- 
ening the province of GalHa Narbonensis, which had 
sworn allegiance to Vitellius ; envoys from the 
colonies also came, asking help. He therefore des- 
patched two cohorts of Tungrian infantry, four 
squadrons of cavalry, and the whole detachment of 
the cavalry of the Treviri with Julius Classicus as 
commander. A part of these troops were kept in 
the colony of Forum Julii^ to prevent Otho's fleet 
from making a hasty descent on an unprotected 
coast, as it might do if all their forces were sent by 
an inland road. Twelve squadrons of cavalry and 
picked infantry advanced to meet the enemy. Their 
numbers Avere reinforced by a cohort of Ligurians, 
a local auxiliary force long existing, and by five 
hundred Pannonians not yet formally enrolled. The 
battle was begun without delay. But Otho's line 
was so drawn up that part of the marines with 
peasants in their ranks stood on the higher ground 
of the hills near the sea. The praetorians filled all 
the level ground between the hills and the shore, 
while on the sea itself, the fleet moved close to the 
shore ; cleared for action, facing the land, it offered 
a threatening front. The Vitellians, who were less 
powerful in infantry but strong in cavalry, placed 
their Alpine troops - on the neighbouring heights, 
and ranged their infantry in close ranks behind the 
cavalry. The squadrons of the Treviri charged the 
enemy without due caution, for they were received 
in front by veteran troops and at the same time 
were hard pressed on the flank by showers of stones 
thrown by a company of peasants who were skilled 
in hurling. These peasants, being distributed among 

183 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

qui sparsi inter milites, strenui ignavique, in victo- 
ria idem audebant. Additus perculsis terror invecta 
in terga pugnantium classe : ita undique clausi, dele- 
taeque omnes copiae forent ni victorem exercitum 
attinuisset obscurum noctis, obtentui fugientibus. 

XV. Nee Vitelliani quamquam victi quievere : 
accitis auxiliis securum hostem ac successu rerum 
socordius agentem invadunt. Caesi vigiles, perrupta 
castra, trepidatum apud navis, donee sidente pau- 
latim metu, occupato iuxta colle defensi, mox inru- 
pere. Atrox ibi caedes, et Tungrarum cohortium 
praefecti sustentata diu acie telis obruuntur. Ne 
Othonianis quidem incruenta victoria fuit, quorum 
improvide secutos conversi equites circumvenerunt. 
Ac velut pactis indutiis, ne hinc classis inde eques 
subitam formidinem inferrent, Vitelliani retro Anti- 
polim Narbonensis Galliae municipium, Othoniani 
Albingaunum interioris Liguriae revertere. 

XVI. Corsicam ac Sardiniam ceterasque proximi 
maris insulas fama victricis classis in partibus Otho- 



^ Antibes. 
^ Albenga. 



184 



BOOK 11. xiv.-xvi. 

the regular soldiers, showed, whether brave or 
cowardly, the same daring when victorious. The 
consternation of the Vitellians was increased by the 
alarm caused by the fleet which attacked their rear 
while they were in action. So they were shut in on 
all sides, and their entire force would have been 
wiped out if the obscurity of night had not checked 
the victorious army and given protection to the 
fugitives. 

XV, Yet the Vitellians, though defeated, did not 
rest. They brought up auxiliary forces and attacked 
the enemy, who thought themselves secure and 
were less on their guard because of their success. 
The Vitellians cut down their opponents' pickets, 
broke into their camp, and caused alarm on the 
ships, until Otho's troops, as their fear gradually sub- 
sided, found defence on a neighbouring hill which 
they seized, and from which they presently assailed 
the Vitellians. Then there was terrible slaughter, 
and the prefects of the Tungrian infantry were 
overwhelmed by a shower of weapons after main- 
taining their line unbroken for a long time. Even 
Otho's troops did not find their victory a bloodless 
one, for when some of their number followed their 
enemy without due caution the Vitellian cavalry 
wheeled and surrounded them. Finally, as if they 
had completed an armistice to the effect that neither 
the fleet on the one side nor the cavalry on the 
other should cause any sudden panic, the Vitellians 
withdrew to Antipolis,^ a town of Narbonese (iaul, 
while Otho's troops retired to Albingaunum ^ in the 
interior of Liguria. 

XVI. Corsica, Sardinia, and the other islands in 
the neighbouring sea were kept faithful to Otho's 

i8s 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

nis tenuit. Sed Corsicam prope adflixit Decumi 
Pacarii procuratoris temeritas, tanta mole belli nihil 
in summam ^ profutura, ipsi exitiosa. Namque Otho- 
nis odio iuvare Vitellium Corsorum viribus statuit^ 
inani auxilio etiam si provenisset. Vocatis principi- 
bus insulae consilium aperit, et contra dicere ausos, 
Claudium Pyrrichum trierarclium Liburnicarum ibi 
navium, Quintium Certum equitem Romanum, in- 
terfici iiibet : quorum morte exterriti qui aderant^ 
simul ignara et alieni metus socia imperitorum^ turba 
in verba \^itellii iuravere, Sed ubi dilectum agere 
Pacarius et inconditos homines fatigare militiae 
muneribus occepit, laborem insolitum perosi infirmi- 
tatem suam reputabant : insulam esse quam inco- 
lerent, et longe Germaniam virisipie legionum ; 
direptos vastatosque classe etiam quos cohortes 
alaeque protegerent. Et aversi repente animi, nee 
tamen aperta vi : aptum tempus insidiis legere. 
Digressis qui Pacarium frequentabant, nudus et 
auxilii inops balineis interficitur ; trucidati et co- 
mites. Capita ut hostium ipsi interfectores ad 
Othonem tulere ; neque eos aut Otho praemio 
adfecit aut puniit \'itellius, in multa conluvie rerum 
maioribus flagitiis permixtos. 

1 suiiimani Hhcyia'nus : suiiima ^f. 
" imperatorum M. 

1 Light vessels modelled after those of the Liburni, an 
Illyrian people. Augustus made them an important part of 
his navy. Of. Horace Ep. i. 1. 

i86 



BOOK II. XVI. 

side by the report that his Heet was victorious. But 
Corsica was ahiiost brouglit to disaster by the rash 
action of Decumus Pacarius, the procurator, an 
action which would have contributed nothing to 
the sum total in so great a war, and which was fatal 
to Decumus himself. For, hating Otho, he decided 
to use the strength of Corsica to help Vitellius — an 
assistance of no value even if he had succeeded. 
Accordingly he summoned the leading men of the 
island and disclosed his purpose ; when Claudius 
Pyrrichus, commander of the Liburnian ships ^ there, 
and Quintius Certus, a Roman knight, dared to 
oppose him, he ordered them to be killed. This 
execution terrified those who were present ; and 
along with them the uninstructed populace, sharing 
in its ignorance the fears of others, swore allegiance 
to V^itellius. But when Pacarius began to raise a levy 
and to put the exhausting burdens of military service 
on undisciplined men, disgusted with their unfamiliar 
labour, they thought of their own weakness ; they 
realized that their land Avas an island and that 
Germany and the strength of its legions were far 
away, while even those who were protected by 
auxiliary infantry and cavalry had suffered rapine 
and robbery from the fleet. They suddenly repented 
their action, but yet did not resort to open violence; 
they selected a fitting time for treachery. When the 
attendants of Pacarius had left him, they killed him 
in his bath, naked and helpless. They slaughtered 
his attendants also. The murderers themselves 
carried the heads of the slain to Otho, as if they 
were the heads of enemies. Yet Otho did not 
reward them or Vitellius punish them, lost as they 
were in such a medley of foul acts and greater crimes. 

187 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

XVII. Aperuerat iam Italiam bellumque transnii- 
serat, ut supra memoravimus, ala Siliana, nullo apud 
quemquam Othonis favore, nee quia Vitellium mal- 
lent, sed longa pax ad omne servitium fregerat 
facilis occupantibus et melioribus incuriosos. Flo- 
rentissimum Italiae latus, quantum inter Padum 
Alpisque camporum et urbium, armis Vitellii (nam- 
que et praemissae a Caecina cohortes advenerant) 
tenebatur. Capta Pannoniorum cohors apud Cre- 
monam ; intercepti centum equites ac mille classici 
inter Placentiam Ticinumque. Quo successu Vitelli- 
anus miles non iam flumine aut ripis arcebatur ; 
inritabat quin etiam Batavos transrhenanosque Padus 
ipse, quem repente contra Placentiam transgressi 
raptis quibusdam exploratoribus ita ceteros terruere 
ut adesse omnem Caecinae exercitum trepidi ac falsi 
nuntiarent. 

XVIII. Certum erat Spurinnae (is enim Pla- 
centiam optinebat) necdum venisse Caecinam et, si 
propinquaret, coercere intra munimenta militem nee 
tris praetorias eohortis et mille vexillarios cum 
paucis equitibus veterano exercitui obicere : sed 
indomitus miles et belli ignarus correptis signis 
vexillisque ruere et retinenti duci tela intentare, 

1 i. 70. 

* Piacenza and Pavia. 



BOOK II. xvii.-xviii. 

XVII. The road into Italy had already been 
opened and the war transferred there by Silius's 
cavalry, as we have said above. ^ Although no one 
favoured Otho there, this success was not due to the 
preference of the people for Vitellius ; but long 
peace had broken their spirits, so that they were 
ready for any kind of servitude, an easy prey to the 
first comer and careless as to who had the better 
cause. The richest district of Italy, all the plains 
and cities between the Po and the Alps, were now in 
the possession of the forces of Vitellius ; for the 
auxiliary infantry which Caecina had sent on in 
advance had already arrived. A company of Pan- 
nonian infantry was captured at Cremona ; a hundred 
horsemen and a thousand marines were intercepted 
between Placentia and Ticinum.^ Encouraged by 
this success, the troops of V^itellius were no longer 
checked by the banks of a river. On the contrary 
the Po itself roused to fury the Batavians and those 
from beyond the Rhine ; they suddenly crossed the 
stream by Placentia, captured some scouts, and so 
terrified the rest that, in their alarm, they spread the 
false report that Caecina's whole army was close at 
hand. 

XVI II. Spurinna (for he was the commander at 
Placentia) was sure that Caecina had not yet come 
and had decided, in case he were approaching, to 
keep his soldiers within the fortifications and not to 
oppose to a veteran army three praetorian cohorts, 
a thousand reservists and a few cavalry. But the 
soldiers were not to be restrained, and in their 
ignorance of war they seized the standards and 
colours and rushed out. When their commander 
tried to restrain them, they threatened him witii their 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

spretis centurionihus tribunisque ^ : quin ^ prodi ^ 
Othonem et accitum Caecinam clamitabant. Fit 
temeritatis alienae comes Spurinna, primo coactus, 
mox velle simulans, quo plus auctoritatis inesset 
consiliis si seditio mitesceret. 

XIX. Postquam in conspectu Padus et nox adpe 
tebat vallari castra placuit. Is labor urbano militi 
insolitus contundit animos. Turn vetustissimus quis- 
que castigare credulitatem suam, metum ac discri- 
men ostendere si cum exercitu Caecina patentibus 
campis tam paucas cohortis circumfudisset. lamqlie 
totis castris modesti sermones, et inserentibus se 
centurionibus tribunisque laudari providentia* ducis 
quod coloniam virium et opum validam robur ac 
sedem bello legisset. Ipse postremo Spurinna^ non 
tam culpam exprobrans quam rationem ostendens, 
relictis exploratoribus ceteros Placentiam reduxit 
minus turbidos et imperia accipientis. Solidati muri, 
propugnacula addita^ auctae turres, provisa para- 
taque non arma modo sed obsequium et parendi 
amor, quod solum illis partibus defuit, cum virtutis 
baud paeniteret. 

XX. At Caecina, velut relicta post Alpis saevitia 
ac licentia, modesto agmine per Italiam incessit. 

1 tribunisque providentiam ducis laudari M : iria postrema 
verba del. Madvig : cf. 19. 

* quin Agricola : qui M. 

* prodi Bekker : pro M. 

* providentia 7. F. Grcmovius : providentiam M. 

190 



BOOK II. xix.-xx. 

weapons and scorned the centurions and tribunes. 
More than that, they kept shouting that Otho was 
being betrayed and that Caecina had been sent for, 
Spurinna joined the folly that others started, at 
first under compulsion, later pretending that it was 
his wish, for he desired to have his advice possess 
greater weight in case the mutiny subsided. 

XIX. After the Po was in sight and night was 
at hand, Spurinna decided to entrench camp. The 
work involved was strange to the town troops and 
broke their spirit. Then all the older soldiers began 
to blame their own credulity and to point out their 
dangerous and critical situation if Caecina with 
his army should surround so few cohorts in the open 
country. Presently throughout the camp more 
temperate speech was heard, while the centurions 
and tribunes made their way among the common 
soldiers and praised the foresight of their general 
for selecting as a strong base of operations a colony 
which possessed great natural strength and re- 
sources. In the end Caecina himself, not so much 
reproving their faults as showing the reasons for his 
action, left some scouts and led the rest back to 
Placentia. They were now less mutinous and more 
ready to accept orders. The walls of the town were 
strengthened, battlements added, towers built higher, 
arms were provided and prepared, and steps were 
taken to secure good discipline and a ready obedience, 
Avhich were the only things that side lacked, for 
there was no reason to be dissatisfied with the 
soldiers' bravery. 

XX, But Caecina seemed to have left behind the 
Alps his cruelty and licence, and now advanced 
through Italy in well-disciplined oi'der. His manner 

191 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Ornatum ipsius municipia et coloniae in superbiam 
trahebant, quod versicolori sagulo, bracas [barbarum 
tecgmen] ^ indutus togatos adloqueretur. Uxorem 
quoque eius Saloninam, quamquam in nullius iniu- 
riam insignis equo ostroque veheretur, tamquam 
laesi gravabantur, insita mortalibus natura recentem 
aliorura felicitatem acribus oculis introspicere mo- 
dumque fortunae a nullis magis exigere quam quos 
in aequo ^ viderunt. Caecina Padum transgressus, 
temptata Othonianorum fide per conloquium et pro- 
missa, isdem petitus, postquam pax et concord ia 
speciosis et inritis nominibus iactata sunt, consilia 
curasque in obpugnationem Placentiae magno terrore 
vertit, gnarus ut initia belli provenissent famam in 
cetera fore. 

XXI. Sed primus dies impetu magis quam vete- 
rani exercitus artibus transactus : aperti incautique 
muros subiere, cibo vinoque praegraves. In eo 
certamine pulcherrimum amphitheatri opus, situm 
extra muros, conflagravit, sive ab obpugnatoribus 
incensum, dum faces et glandis et missilem ignem 
in obsessos iaculantur, sive ab obsessis, dum retorta 
ingerunt.^ Municipale vulgus, pronum ad suspiciones, 
fraude inlata ignis alimenta credidit a quibusdam 

^ sed. Ritter ^ inequos M. 

' retorta ingerunt 7. F. Gronovius : reportans gerunt M in 
rasura. 

^ Gallic dress, considered inappropriate for a Roman. 
192 



BOOK II. xx.-.\xi. 

of dress the towns and colonies interpreted as a 
mark of haughtiness, because he addressed civilians 
wearing a parti-coloured cloak and breeches.^ They 
seemed to feel offence and annoyance over the fact 
that his wife Salonina also rode a fine horse with 
purple trappings, though it did no one any harm. 
But they were prompted by that inveterate trait 
of human nature, which makes men look with 
unfavourable eyes upon the recent good fortune of 
others and to demand moderation from none more 
than from those whom they have recently seen their 
equals. Caecina, having crossed the Po, tried to 
break down the loyalty of Otho's followers by a 
conference and promises, and was himself assailed 
by the same devices. Finally, when in vain and 
empty phrases they had bandied back and forth the 
words "peace and concord," he turned his purpose 
and thoughts to storming Placentia with terrific 
force, well aware that the success he made in the 
beginning of the war would determine his repu- 
tation thereafter. 

XXI. The first day was spent in a furious onslaught 
rather than in skilful attacks appropriate to a veteran 
army. The troops, heavy with food and wine, came 
under the walls without protection and without 
caution. During the struggle the handsome amphi- 
theatre, which was situated outside the walls, was 
burned, being set on fire either by the besiegers as 
they threw firebrands, hot bullets, and burning 
missiles against the besieged, or by the besieged 
themselves as they directed their return fire. The 
common people of the town, being given to sus- 
picion, believed that inflammable material had been 
treacherously brought into the amphitheatre by some 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

ex^ vicinis coloniis invidia et^ aemulatione, quod nulla 
in Italia moles tarn capax foret. Quocumque casu 
acciditj dum atrociora metuebantur^ in levi habitum, 
reddita securitate, tamquam nihil gravius pati potu- 
issent, maerebant. Ceterum multo suorum cruore 
pulsus "Caecinaj et nox parandis operibus absumpta. 
Vitelliani pluteos cratisque et vineas subfodiendis 
muris protegendisque obpugnatoribuSj Othoniani 
sudis et immensas lapidum ac plumbi aerisque mo- 
lls perfiingendis obruendisque hostibus expediunt. 
Utrimque pudor^ utrimque gloria et diversae ex- 
hortationes hinc legionum et Germanic! exercitus 
robur, inde urbanae militiae et praetoriarum co- 
hortium decus attollentium ; illi ut segnem et 
desidem et cii'co ac theatris corruptum militem, hi 
pei'egrinum et externum increpabant. Simul Otho- 
nem ac Vitellium celebrantes culpantesve uberioribus 
inter se probris quam laudibus stimulabantur. 

XXII. Mxdum orto die plena propugnatoribus 
moenia, fulgentes armis virisque campi : densum 
legionum agmen^ sparsa auxiliorum manus altiora 
murorum sagittis aut saxis incessere^ neglecta aut 
aevo fluxa comminus adgredi. Ingerunt desuper 
Othoniani pila librato magis et certo ictu adversus 



ex Halm : et J/. 

invidia et Muretus : invidiae M. 



194 



BOOK II. xxi.-xxii. 

persons from the neighbouring colonies, who looked 
on it with envy and jealousy, since no other building 
in Italy was so large. However it happened, the 
loss was regarded as slight, so long as they feared 
more awful disasters ; but when a sense of security 
returned, they grieved as if they could have suffered 
nothing worse. Nevertheless Caecina was repulsed 
with great loss to his troops, and the night was spent 
in the preparation of siege-works. The Vitellians 
made ready mantlets, fascines, and sheds to under- 
mine the walls and protect the assailants. Otho's 
followers prepared stakes and huge masses of stones 
and lead and bronze to break through and over- 
whelm the enemy. On both sides was a feeling 
of shame ; on both an ambition for glory. Different 
exhortations were heard : one side exalted the 
strength of the legions and the army from Germany, 
while the other praised the high renown of the town 
soldiery and the praetorian cohorts. The Vitellians 
assailed their opponents as lazy and indolent, soldiers 
corrupted by the circus and the theatre; those within 
the town attacked the Vitellians as foreigners and 
barbarians. At the same time, while they thus 
lauded or blamed Otho and Vitellius, tlieir mutual 
insults were more productive of enthusiasm than 
their praise. 

XXII. Almost before dawn the walls were filled 
with defenders, the jjlains all agleam with armed 
men. The legionary forces in close array, the 
auxiliaries in open order, assailed the higher parts 
of the walls with arrows or stones and attacked at 
close quarters the parts of the walls that were 
neglected or weak from age. Otho's soldiers poured 
a shower of javelins from above with more deliberate 

195 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

temere subeuntis cohortis Germanorum, cantu truci 
et more patrio nudis corporibus super umeros scuta 
quatientium. Legionarius pluteis et cratibus tectus 
submit muros, instruit aggerem, molitur portas : 
contra praetorian! dispositos ad id ipsum molaris 
ingenti pondere ac fragore provolvunt. Pars subeun- 
tium obruti, pars confixi et exsangues aut laceri : cum 
augeret stragem trepidatio eoque acrius e moenibus 
vulnerarentur, rediere ^ infracta partium fama. Et 
Caecina pudore coeptae temere obpugnationis, ne 
inrisus ac vanus isdem castris adsideret, traiecto 
rursus Pado Cremonam petere intendit. Tradidere 
sese abeunti Turullius Cerialis cum compluribus 
classicis et lulius Briganticus cum paucis equitum^ 
hie praefectus alae in Batavis genitus, ille primipila- 
ris et Caecinae baud alienus, quod ordines in Germania 
duxerat. 

XXIII. Spurinna comperto itinere hostium de- 
fensam Placentiam, quaeque acta et quid Caecina 
pararet, Annium Galium per litteras docet. Gall us 
legionem primam in auxilium Placentiae ducebat, 
diffisus paucitati cohortiumj ne longius obsidium et 
vim Germanic! exercitus parum tolerarent. Ub! 

^ red ire M. 

1 Cf. i. 87. 
196 



BOOK II. xxii.-xxiii. 

and certain aim upon the German infantry who 
approached with little caution, singing their wild 
songs and brandishing their shields above their 
shoulders, while their bodies, according to a native 
custom, were unprotected. The legionary soldiers, 
defended by mantlets and fascines, undermined the 
Avails, built an earthwork, and assailed the gates, 
while the praetorians on their side rolled down upon 
them millstones of great weight, arranged for the 
purpose, which fell with a mighty crash. Many of 
the assailants under the walls were thus crushed, 
many were pierced and bleeding or mangled ; since 
their panic increased their demoralization, and the 
weapons rained upon them more fiercely from the 
walls, they began to withdraw, thus injuring 
the prestige of their side. Caecina, however, 
prompted by shame at his rash attempt to carry the 
town by storm and desiring to avoid appearing 
ridiculous and useless by remaining in the same 
camp, crossed the Po again and hurried to attack 
Cremona. As he was leaving, Turullius Cerialis, 
with a large number of marines, and Julius Brigan- 
ticus, with a few horsemen, surrendered to him. 
Briganticus, a Batavian by birth, was commander of 
a squadron of cavalry ; Cerialis was a centurion of the 
first rank and no stranger to Caecina, for he had 
served in Germany. 

XXIII. When Spurinna learned of the enemy's 
route, he informed Annius Gall us ^ of everything 
that had happened, of the defence of Placentia, and of 
Caecina's purpose. Gallus was at the time bringing 
the First legion to help Placentia, for he feared that 
the few cohorts there might not be able to withstand 
a long siege and the force of the German army. 

^97 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

pulsum Caecinani pergere Cremonam accepit, aegre 
coercitam legionem et pugnandi ardore usque ad 
seditionem progressam Bedriaci sistit. Inter Vero- 
nani Cremonamque situs est vicus, duabus iam 
Romanis cladibus notus infaustusque.^ 

Isdem diebus a Martio Macro baud procul Cremona 
prospere pugnatum ; namque promptus^ animi Mar- 
tins transvectos navibus gladiatores in adversam Padi 
ripam repente efFudit. Turbati ibi V^itellianorum 
auxilia, et ceteris Cremonam fugientibus caesi qui 
restiterant : sed repressus ^ vincentium impetus ne 
novis subsidiis firmati hostes fortunam proelii muta- 
rent. Suspectum id Othonianis fuit, omnia ducum * 
facta prave aestimantibus. Certatim, ut quisque 
animo ignavus, procax ore, Annium Galium 
et Suetonium Paulinum et Marium Celsum — nam 
eos quoque Otho praefecerat — variis criminibus 
incessebant.^ Acerrima seditionum ac discordiae 
incitamenta, interfectores Galbae scelere et metu 
vaecordes miscere cuncta, modo palam turbidis 
vocibus, modo occultis ad Othonem litteris ; qui 
humillimo cuique credulus, bonos metuens trepida- 

^ infastusque M. ^ promptius M. 

^ sed reprehensis 3A 

* ducum Freinsheim : quocuni J/. 

'' incessebant Agricola : incesserant 3T. 



1 At the juncture of the highroads leading from Hostilia 
and Mantua toward Cremona, near the present Calvatone. 



BOOK II. XXIII. 

When the news came that Caecina had been repulsed 
and was marching on Cremona, he had difficulty 
in restraining his legion which, in its enthusiasm 
for battle, had reached the point of mutiny, 
but he succeeded in stopping them at Bedriacum.'^ 
This is a village which lies between Verona and 
Cremona, and two Roman disasters have given it an 
unhappy celebrity .^ 

During these same days, Martius Macer had had a 
successful engagement not far from Cremona ; for by 
a prompt decision he had transferred gladiators to 
the opposite bank of the Po, and suddenly hurled 
them at the enemy. This had tln'own the auxiliaries 
of Vitellius into confusion and, while most fled to 
Cremona, those who resisted were cut down. But 
Macer checked the enthusiastic advance of his 
victorious troops, prompted by fear that the enemy 
might be reinforced and change the fortune of 
battle. This roused suspicion in the minds of Otho's 
troops, who put a bad construction upon every act 
of their leaders. Blustering in speech to match 
their cowardice at heart, they vied with one anotlier 
in bringing various charges against Annius Gallus 
and Suetonius Paulinus and Marius Celsus, for Otho 
had appointed the latter two also as generals, l^he 
murderers of Galba were the most ardent promoters 
of mutiny and discord, for, driven mad by guilt and 
fear, they sought to cause utter confusion, now by 
openly seditious expressions, now by secret letters to 
Otho, who, between his readiness to trust the 
meanest and his fear of honest men, was in a state of 

* Because here Vitellius defeated Otho (ii. 41 ff. ), and Ves- 
pasian Vitellius (iii. 15 ff. ). 

199 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

bat, rebus prosperis incertus et inter adversa melior. 
Igitur Titianum fratrem accitum bello praeposuit. 

XXIV. Interea Paulini et Celsi ductu res egregie 
gestae. Angebant Caecinam nequiquam omnia 
coepta et senescens exercitus sui fama. Pulsus 
Placentia, caesis nuper auxiliis, etiam per concursum 
exploratorum, crebra magis quam digna memoratu 
proelia^ inferior, propinquante Fabio Valente, ne 
omne belli decus illuc concederet, reciperare gloriam 
avidius quam consultius properabat. Ad duodecimum 
a Cremona (locus Castorum^ vocatur) ferocissimos 
auxiliarium imminentibus viae lucis oecultos com- 
ponit : equites procedere longius iussi ^ et inritato 
proelio sponte refugi festinationem sequentium 
elicere, donee insidiae coorerentur.^ Proditum id 
Othonianis ducibus, et curam peditum Paulinus, 
equitum Celsus sumpsere. Tertiae decimae legionis 
vexillum, quattuor auxiliorum cohortes et quingenti 
equites in sinistro locantur ; aggerem viae tres 
praetoriae cohortes altis ordinibus obtinuere ; dextra 
fronte prima legio incessit cum duabus auxiliaribus * 
cohortibus et quingentis equitibus : super hos ex ^ 
praetorio auxiliisque mille equites, cumulus prosperis 
aut subsidium laborantibus, ducebantur. 

^ Casiorum Alciatus : castrarum? 31: castrorum J/^ 

* iussi Rhenanus : iussit M. 

' coorerentur iJ^Tianus : coercereiitiir ilf. 

* auxiliaribus Mercerus : vexillaribus M. 
' ex £ach : et M. 



BOOK II. xxiii.-xxiv. 

trepidation, hesitating in prosperity and yet showing 
himself the better man in adversity. Therefore he 
sent for his brother Titianus and appointed him to 
the chief command. 

XXIV. In the meantime the generals Paulinus 
and Celsus had met with brilliant success. Caecina 
was distressed by the failure of all his efforts and by 
the waning reputation of his army. Driven from 
Placentia, he had lately had his auxiliaries cut to 
pieces, and, even when his scouts engaged in 
skirmishes which were frequent but not worth record- 
ing, he was worsted. Therefore, as Fabius Valens 
was approaching, he feared that all the honour in the 
campaign would fall to him, and hurried to recover 
his reputation with more impetuosity than wisdom. 
Twelve miles from Cremona, at a place called " The 
Castors'," he concealed the bravest of his auxiliary 
troops in some woods which overhung the road. His 
cavalry he ordered to advance and provoke battle, 
then to feign fright and draw the enemy into a 
hasty pursuit until the troops in ambuscade could 
assail them. This plan was betrayed to Otho's 
generals, and Paulinus took command of the foot, 
Celsus of the horse ; they stationed a detachment of 
the Thirteenth legion, four auxiliary cohorts of 
infantry, and five hundred auxiliary cavalry on the 
left flank ; the causeway three praetorian cohorts 
occupied in deep formation ; on the right front the 
First legion advanced with two cohorts of auxiliary 
infantry and five hundred cavalry. In addition to 
these they were accompanied by a thousand prae- 
torian and auxiliary horse to give them additional 
weight if victorious, or to act as a reserve if they 
were in difficulties. 

aoi 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

XXV. Antequam miscerentur acies, terga vei*- 
tentibus Vitellianis, Celsus doli prudens repressit 
suos ; Vitelliani temere exsurgentes cedente sensim 
Celso longius secuti ultro in insidias praecipitantur ; 
nam a lateribus cohortes, legionuni adversa frons, et 
subito discursu terga cinxerant equites. Signum 
pugnae non statim a Suetonio Paulino pediti datum : 
cunctator natura et cui cauta potius consilia cum 
ratione quam prospera ex casu placerent, compleri 
fossas, aperiri campum, pandi aciem iubebat, satis 
cito incipi victoriam ratus ubi provisum foret ne 
vincerentur, Ea cunctatione spatium Vitellianis 
datum in vineas nexu traducum impeditas refugi- 
endi ; et modica silva adhaerebatj unde rursus ausi 
promptissimos praetorianorum equitum interfecere. 
Vulneratur rex Epiphanes, impigre pro Othone 
pugnam ciens. 

XXVI. Tum Othonianus pedes erupit ; protrita 
hostium acie versi in fugam etiam qui subveniebant ; 
nam Caecina non simul cohortis sed singulas acci- 
verat, quae res in proelio trepidationem auxit, cum 
disperses nee usquam validos pavor fugientium abri- 
peret. Orta et in castris seditio quod non universi 
ducerentur : vinctus praefectus castrorum lulius 

^ Son of King Antiochus, king of Commagene. 
202 



BOOK II. xxv.-xxvi. 

XXV. Before the lines engaged the Vitellians fled ; 
but Celsus, aware of the tricky stratagem, held his 
men back. The Vitellians rashly left their ambus- 
cade, while Celsus gradually withdrew. They 
pursued too far and themselves fell into a trap ; for 
the auxiliary infantry hemmed them in on the 
flanks, the legions opposed them in front, and their 
rear the cavalry cut off" by a sudden manoeuvre. 
Suetonius Paulinus did not at once give his infantry 
the signal to engage, for he was naturally inclined to 
delay, and a man who preferred cautious and well- 
reasoned plans to chance success. So he kept issuing 
orders to fill up the ditches, clear the fields, and 
extend the line, thinking that it was soon enough 
to begin to conquer when they had made provision 
against defeat. This delay gave the Vitellians time 
to retreat into some vineyards which were obstructed 
by the intertwining vines. There was a small wood 
also near at hand, from which they dared to issue 
again and killed the boldest of the praetorian horse. 
Prince Epiphanes ^ was wounded as he was enthusias- 
tically cheering the soldiers on for Otho. 

XX\T. Then Otho's soldiers charged ; thev 
crushed the enemy's line and routed also those who 
were coming to their assistance. For Caecina had 
not brought up his cohorts of auxiliary infantry all at 
once, but one by one, an action which increased the 
confusion while they were engaged, inasmuch as the 
bodies of troops which were thus scattered and 
nowhere strong were swept away by the panic of the 
fugitives. Even in the camp the soldiers mutinied 
because they were not all taken out together. They 
threw into chains Julius Gratus, the prefect of the 
camp, on the charge that he was having 

203 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Gratus, tamquam fratri apud Othonem militanti 
proditionem ageret, cum fratrem eius, lulium Fron- 
tonem tribunum, Othoniani sub eodem crimine 
vinxissent. Ceterum ea ubique formido fuit apud 
fugientis occursantis, in acie pro vallo, ut deleri cum 
universe exercitu Caecinam potuisse, ni Suetonius 
Paulinus receptui cecinisset, utrisque in partibus 
percrebruerit.^ Timuisse se Paulinus ferebat tantum 
insuper laboris atque itineris, ne Vitellianus miles 
recens e castris fessos adgrederetur et perculsis^ 
nullum retro subsidium foret. Apud paucos ea ducis 
ratio probata, in vulgus adverso rumore fuit. 

XXVII. Haud proinde id damnum Vitellianos in 
metum compulit quam ad modestiam composuit : nee 
solum apud Caecinam, qui culpam in militem con- 
ferebat seditioni magis quam proelio paratum : Fabii 
quoque Valentis copiae (iam enim Ticinum venerat) 
posito hostium contemptu et reciperandi decoris cupi- 
dine reverentius et aequalius duci parebant. Gravis 
alioquin seditio exarserat, quam altiore initio (neque 
enim rerum a Caecina gestarum ordinem interrumpi 
oportuerat) repetam. Cohortes Batavorum, quas 
bello Neronis a quarta decima legione digressas, cum 

^ percrebuerit Beroaldus : percrebuit M. 
' periculosis M. 

^ That is, Paulinus, if .successful here against Caecina, 
would then have to lead his troops some twelve miles to 
Cremona where Caecina's camp was situated. 

^ Tacitus here resumes his narrative from i. 66. 

204 



BOOK II. xxvi.-xxvii. 

treacherous dealings witli his brother who was serv- 
ing under Otho, while Otho's troops had put that 
same brother, the tribune Julius Fronto, into fetters 
on the same charge. But there was universal panic 
both among the troops who were fleeing and those 
who were advancing, in the lines and in front of the 
camp, so that on both sides it was commonly said that 
Caecina could have been annihilated with his whole 
force if Suetonius Paulinus had not given the signal 
to retire. Paulinus offered as excuse that he had 
been afraid of the effect of such great additional 
effort and the long march, ^ lest the soldiers of 
V'itellius, fresh from camp, should attack his weary 
forces, and then, when they were demoralized, they 
should have no place of retreat. A few approved 
of the general's plan, but it caused adverse comment 
among the mass of the soldiers. 

XXVII. Their disaster did not so much drive the 
Vitellians into a panic as bring them back to a state 
of obedience. This was true both among the troops 
with Caecina, who blamed the soldiers, saying that 
they were readier for mutiny than for battle ; and 
likewise among the forces under Fabius Valens, who 
had now reached Ticinum. They gave up their 
scorn of their opponents, and, prompted by a desire 
to recover their former i-eputation, began to obey 
their commander with more respect and regularity. 
A serious mutiny had broken out among them on 
another occasion, the history of which I shall now 
trace from an early point, since before I could not 
properly interrupt my account of Caecina's opera- 
tions. I have already related ^ how the Batavian 
cohorts that had withdrawn from the Fourteenth 
legion in the uprising against Nero, on hearing of 

205 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Britanniam peterent, audito Vitellii motu in civitate 
Lingonum Fabio Valenti adiunctas rettulimus, su- 
perbe agebant, ut cuiusque^ legionis tentoria accessis- 
sent, coercitos a se quartadecimanos^ ablatam Neroni 
Italian! atque omnem belli fortunam in ipsorum 
manu sitam iactantes. Contumeliosum id militibus, 
acerbum duci ; corrupta iurgiis aut rixis disciplina ; 
ad postremum Valens e petulantia etiam perfidiam 
suspectabat. 

XXVIII. Igitur nuntio adlato pulsam Trevirorum ~ 
alam Tungrosque a classe Othonis et Narbonensem 
Galliam circumii'i, simul cura socios tuendi et militari 
astu cohortis turbidas ac, si una forent, praevalidas 
dispergendij partem Batavorum ire in subsidiuin 
iubet. Quod ubi auditum vulgatumque, maerere 
socii, fremere legiones. Orbari se fortissimorum 
virorumauxilio ; veteres illos et tot bellorum victores, 
postquam in conspectu sit hostis, velut ex acie 
abduci. Si provincia urbe et salute imperii potior 
sit, omnes illue sequerentur ; sin victoriae columen^ 
in Italia verteretur, non abrumpendos ut corpori 
validissimos artus. 

XXIX. Haec ferociter iactando, postquam im- 

^ cuius M. 
'^ ire virorum if. 

^ sanitas sustentaculum columen 31: san. susten. utglossaa 
agn. Nipperdey. 

1 Cf. ii. 14f. 
206 



BOOK II. xxvii.-xxix. 

the revolt of Vitellius while they were on their way 
to Britain, had joined Fabius Valens in the country 
of the Lingones. These cohorts then began to be 
insolent, going up to the quarters of each legion and 
boasting tiiat it was they who had checked the 
regulars of the Fourteenth legion, they who had 
taken Italy away from Nero, and that in their hands 
lay the whole fortune of the war. Such action was 
insulting to the legionaries, bitterly offensive to the 
commander ; discipline was ruined by quarrels and 
brawls ; finally their insolence began to make Valens 
suspect even their loyalty. 

XXV'III. So when news came that the squadron 
of Treviran cavaliy and the Tungrian foot had been 
defeated by Otho's fleet,^ and that the province of 
Gallia Narbonensis was blockaded, Valens, prompted 
by his desire to protect the allies and, like a wise 
commander, to scatter the auxiliary cohorts which 
were now mutinous and which, if united, would 
prove too strong, ordered a part of the Batavians 
to march to the aid of the province. When the 
report of this action became common knowledge, 
the allied troops were dissatisfied, the legionaries 
angry. They declared that they were losing the 
help of their bravest troops ; that it looked as if 
the Batavians, veterans in so many victorious cam- 
paigns, were being withdrawn from the line after the 
enemy was in sight. If the province was of more 
account than Rome and the safety of the empire, then 
all ought to follow thither ; but if the main support 
of victory depended on Italy, the strongest limbs 
must not be torn, as it were, from the body of the 
army. 

XXIX. While the soldiers were thus savagely 

207 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

missis lictoribus Valens coercere seditionem coepta- 
bat, ipsum invadunt, saxa iaciunt^ fugientem sequun- 
tur. Spolia Galliarum et Viennensium aurum, pretia^ 
laborum suorum, occultare clamitantes^ direptis 
sarcinis tabernacula ducis ipsamque humum pilis et 
lanceis rimabantur ; nam Valens servili veste apud 
decurionem equitum tegebatur. Turn Alfenus Varus 
praefectus castrorum, deflagrante paulatim seditione, 
addit consilium, vetitis obire vigilias centurionibus, 
omisso tubae sono, quo miles ad belli munia cietur. 
Igitur torpere cuncti, circumspectare inter se attoniti 
et id ipsum quod nemo regeret paventes ; silentio, 
patientia, postremo precibus ac laerimis veniam 
quaerebant, Ut vero deformis et flens et praeter 
spem incolumis Valens processit, gaudium miseratio 
favor ; versi in laetitiam, ut est vulgus utroque 
immodicum, laudantes gratantesque circumdatum 
aquilis signisque in tribunal ferunt. Ille utili 
moderatione non supplicium cuiusquam poposcit, ac 
ne dissimulans suspectior foret, paucos incusavit, 
gnarus civilibus bellis plus militibus quam ducibus 
licere. 

^ pretia Classen : et praetia M. 

1 Cf. i. 63-66. 

* The eagles of the First and Fifth legions and the colours 
of auxiliary cohorts. 

208 



BOOK ir. XXIX. 

criticizing his action, Valens sent his Hctors among 
tliem and tried to check the mutiny. Thereupon 
the troops attacked Valens himself, stoned him, and 
pursued him when he fled. Declaring that he was 
concealing the spoils of the Gallic provinces and 
the gold taken from the people of Vienne, the 
rewards of their own toil,^ they began to ransack 
liis baggage and explore the walls of his quarters 
and even the ground with their spears and javelins. 
Valens, disguised in a slave's clothes, hid in the 
quarters of a cavalry officer. Then, as the mutiny 
began gradually to lose its force, Alfenus Varus, 
prefect of the camp, helped the situation by the 
device of forbidding the centurions to make the 
rounds of the pickets and of omitting the usual 
trumpet call to summon the soldiers to their military 
duties. The result was that all were amazed, they 
began to look at one another in perplexity, frightened 
by the simple fact that no one issued orders. In 
silence and submission, finally with prayers and 
tears, they begged forgiveness. When Valens 
appeared in sorry plight and weeping, but un- 
expectedly safe, there came joy, pity, and even 
popularity. In their revulsion from anxiety to 
delight — mobs are always extravagant in both 
directions — they praised and congratulated him, 
surrounded him with the eagles and colours,^ and 
carried him to the tribunal. Valens showed a wise 
moderation : he did not demand the punishment 
of any man ; at the same time, that an assumption 
of ignorance might not arouse suspicion, he blamed 
a few severely. He was well aware that in civil 
wars the soldiers have more liberty than the 
leaders. 

209 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

XXX. Munientibus castra apud Ticiniim de ad- 
versa Caecinae pugna adlatum, et prope renovata 
seditio tamqiiam fraiide et cunctationibus Valentis 
proelio defuissent : nolle requiem^ non expectare 
diicem, anteire signa, urgere signiferos ; rapido 
agmine Caecinae iunguntur. Improspera Valentis 
fama apud exercitum Caecinae erat : expositos se 
tanto pauciores integris hostiiim viribus querebantur, 
siniul in suam excusationem et adventantium robur 
per adulationem attollentes, ne ut victi et ignavi 
despectarentur. Et qiianiquam {)lijs viiium, prope 
duplicatus legionum auxiliorumque numerus erat 
Valenti, stiidia tamen milltum in Caecinam inclina- 
bant, super benignitatem animi, qua promptior 
habebatur, etiam vigore aetatis, proceritate corporis 
et quodam inani favore. Hinc aemulatio ducibus : 
Caecina ut foedum ac maculosum, ille ut tumidum 
ac vanum inridebant. Sed condito odio eandem 
utilitatem fovere, crebris epistulis sine respectu 
veniae probra Othoni obiectantes, cum duces partium 
Othonis quamvis uberrima conviciorum in Vitellium 
materia abstinerent. 

XXXI. Sane ante utriusque exituin, quo egre- 
giam Otho famauij ^'itellius flagitiosissimam meruere 



BOOK II. XXX. -XXXI. 

XXX. While the soldiers were fortifying their 
camp at Ticinum, word of Caecina's defeat arrived ; 
the troops almost mutinied again, for they suspected 
that their absence from the battle was due to 
treachery and delay on the part of V^*^lens. They 
refused to rest ; they would not wait for their 
general ; they advanced before the standards, and 
spurred on the standard-bearers ; and they quickly 
marched and joined Caecina. Valens did not enjoy 
a good reputation with Caecina's troops ; they com- 
plained that in spite of their great inferiority in 
numbers Valens liad exposed them to an enemy 
whose strength was unimpaired, and at the same 
time, to excuse themselves, they praised and flattered 
the strength of the troops that joined them, for 
they did not wish these to despise them as defeated 
and cowardly soldiers. Moreover, although V^alens 
had the larger army, in fact almost twice as many 
legionaries and auxiliaries, the troops were inclined 
to favour Caecina, not only for his kindness of heart, 
which he was thought to display more readily than 
Valens, but also because of his vigorous youth, his 
tall person, and a certain unwarranted popularity. 
This caused rivalry between the generals. Caecina 
made sport of Valens as a shameful and disgraceful 
character; Valens ridiculed Caecina as a conceited 
and vain person. Yet they laid aside their hatred 
and devoted themselves to the common interest ; in 
many communications, sacrificing all hope of pardon, 
they heaped insults on Otho, while the generals of 
Otho's party refrained from using the abundant 
material they had at hand for attacking Vitellius. 

XXXI. In fact, before these two met their deaths, 
in which Otho won a glorious reputation while 

211 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

minus Vitellii ignavae voluptates quam Othonis 
Hagrantissimae libidines timebantur : addiderat hiiic 
terrorem atque odium caedes Galbae, contra illi 
initium belli nemo imputabat. Vitellius ventre et 
gula sibi inhonestus/ Otho luxu saevitia audaeia rei 
publicae exitiosior ducebatur. 

Coniunctis Caecinae ac Valentis copiis nulla ultra 
penes Vitellianos mora quin totis viribus certarent : 
Otho consultavit train bellum an fortunam experiri 
placeret. 

XXXII. Tunc Suetonius Paulinus dignum fama 
sua ratus, qua nemo ilia tempestate militaris rei 
callidior habebatur, de toto genere belli censere, 
festinationem hostibus, moram ipsis utilem disseruit : 
exercitum Vitellii universum advenisse, nee multum 
virium a tergo, quoniam Galliae tumeant et deserere 
Rheni ripam inrupturis tam infestis nationibus non 
conducat ; Britannicum militem hoste et mari disti- 
neri:^ Hispanias armis non itaredundare ; provinciam 
Narbonensem incursu classis et adverso proelio con- 
tremuisse ; clausam Alpibus et nullo maris subsidio 
transpadanam Italian! atque ipso transitu exercitus 
vastam ; non frumentum usquam exercitui, nee 
exercitum sine copiis retineri posse : iam Germanos, 

^ inhonestus Vidorius : inhostus M. 
^ destineri M. 



^ Paulinus had proved himself an able general in Africa as 
early as 42 a.d. (Dio Cass. Ix. 4 ; Plin. N.H. v. 14), and in 
Britain during the years 59-61 (Tac. Agric. 14-16 ; Ann. 
xiv. 29-39 ; Dio Cass. Ixii. 7-12). He was apparently consul 
in 42, and now was the senior among the ex-consuls 
(cf. ii 37). 



BOOK II. XXXI. -XXXII. 

Vitellius gained infamy, the indolent pleasures of 
Vitellius were less feared than the fiery passions of 
Otho. Moreover the murder of Galba had made 
men stand in terror of Otho and hate him ; but no 
one blamed Vitellius for beginning the war. The 
sensuality and gluttony of Vitellius were regarded 
as disgracing him alone ; Otho's luxury, cruelty and 
daring seemed more dangerous to the state. 

After Caecina and Valens had joined forces, the 
Vitellians no longer hesitated to engage with all 
their forces. Otho, however, took counsel as to 
whether it was better to protract the war or to try 
his fortune now. 

XXXll. Then Suetonius Paulinus, who was re- 
garded as the most skilful general of the time,^ 
thought it consonant with his reputation to express 
his views with regard to the whole conduct of the 
war, maintaining that the enemy's advantage lay in 
haste, their own in delay. He spoke to this effect : 
"The whole army of Vitellius has now arrived, and 
there are no strong reserves behind them, for the 
Gallic provinces are growing restless, and it would be 
unwise to abandon the bank of the Rhine when so 
many hostile tribes are ready to rush across it. The 
troops in Britain are kept away by their enemies' 
assaults and by the sea ; the Spanish provinces have 
no forces to spare ; Gallia Narbonensis has been 
badly frightened by the attacks of our fleet and by 
defeat ; Italy north of the Po, shut in by the Alps, 
can look to no relief by sea, and in fact has been 
devastated by the mere passage of an army. Our 
opponents have no supplies anywhere for their 
troops, and they cannot maintain their forces with- 
out supplies ; then the Germans, who are the fiercest 

213 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

quod genus militum apud hostis atrocissimum sit, 
tracto in aestatem bello, fluxis corporil)us, mutatio- 
nem soli caelique haud toleraturos. Multa bella 
impetu validaper taedia et moras evanuisse. Contra 
ipsis omnia opulenta et fida, Pannoniam Moesiam 
Dalmatiam Orientem cum integris exercitibus, 
Italiam et caput rerum urbem senatumque et popu- 
lum, nunquam obscura nomina, etiam si aliquando 
obumbrentur ; publicas privatasque opes et im- 
mensam pecuniam, inter civilis discordias ferro 
validiorem ; corpora militum aut Italiae sueta aut 
aestibus ; obiacere flumen Padum, tutas viris muris- 
que urbis, e quibus nullam hosti cessuram Placentiae 
defensione exploratum : proinde duceret bellura. 
Paucis diebus quaitam decimam legionem, magna 
ipsam fama/ cum - Moesicis copiis adfore : tum rursus 
deliberaturum et, si proelium placuisset, auctis 
viribus certaturos. 

XXXIII. Accedebat sententiae Paulini Marius 
Celsus ; idem placere Annio Gallo, paucos ante dies 
lapsu equi adflicto, missi qui consilium eius sciscita- 
rentur rettulerant. Otho pronus ad decertandum • 
frater eius Titianus et praefectus praetorii Proculus, 
imperitia properantes, fortunam et deos et numen 
Othonis adesse consiliis, adfore conatibus testaban- 

^ magnam ipsam famam J/. * cum om. M. 

^ This implies the withdrawal of Otho's troops to the south 
of the Po. 

^ For the reputation of the Fourteenth legion, see above, 
chap, 11; the troops from Moesia reached Aquilea at the 
time of the battle of Cremona. See below, chap. 46. 

214 



BOOK II. xxxii.-xvxiif. 

warriors in their army, if the war be protracted into 
summer, will soon lose their strength and be unable to 
endure the change of country and climate. Many 
wars, formidable in their first onset, have shrunk to 
nothing through the tedium caused by inaction. On 
the other hand, our own resources are rich and 
certain : Pannonia, Moesia, Ualmatia and the East 
are with us ; their armies are undiminished ; we 
have also Italy and Rome, the capital of the empire, 
the Senate and the People — names never insignifi- 
cant, even if they be sometimes obscured. We have 
also on our side public and private resources and an 
enormous amount of money, which in time of civil 
strife is more powerful than the sword. Physically 
our soldiers are inured to Italy, or, at least, to heat. 
The Po is our defence ; ^ our cities are well pro- 
tected by their garrisons and walls, and we have 
learned from the defence of Placentia that none will 
surrender to the foe. Your policy therefore is to 
prolong the war. In a few days the Fourteenth 
legion itself, a force of great renown, will be here 
with troops from Moesia besides ; ^ then you may 
again consider the question, and if we decide to fight 
we shall engage with increased strength.'' 

XXXIII. Marius Celsus supported the opinion of 
Paulinus. Annius Gallus did likewise ; he had been 
incapacitated a few days before by a fall from his 
horse, but a delegation which had been sent to 
consult him reported back his views. Otho. was 
inclined to fight. His brother Titianus and the 
praetorian prefect, Proculus, impatient as they were 
through inexperience, declared that fortune, the 
gods, and Otho's good genius favoured his policy 
and would favour its execution ; in fact they had 

215 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

tur, neu quis obviaiii ire sententiae auderet, ia 
adulationem concesserant. Postquam pugnari placi- 
turrij interesse pugnae imperatorem an seponi melius 
foret dubitavere. Paulino et Celso iam non adver- 
santibus, ne principem obiectare periculis viderentur 
idem illi deterioris eonsilii auctores perpulere ut 
Brixellum concederet ac dubiis proeliorum exeraptus 
summae ^ rerum et imperii se ipsum reservaret. Is 
primus dies Othonianas partis adflixit ; namque et 
cum ipso praetoriarum cohortium et speculatorum 
equitumque valida manus discessit, et remanentium 
fractus animus, quando suspecti duces et Otho,^ cui 
uni apud militem fides, dum et ipse non nisi militi- 
bus credit, imperia ducum in ^ incerto reliquerat. 

XXXIV. Nihil eorum V'itellianos fallebat,crebris, ut 
in civili bello, transfugiis ; et exploratores cura diversa 
sciscitandi sua non occultabant. Quieti intentique 
Caecina ac Valens, quando hostis imprudentia rueret, 
quod loco sapientiae est, alienam stultitiam opperie- 
bantur, inchoato ponte transitum Padi simulantes 
adversus obpositam gladiatorum manum, ac ne 
ipsorum miles segne otium tereret. Naves pari inter 
se spatio, validis utrimque trabibus conexae, adversum 
in flumen dirigebantur, iactis super ancoris quae 
firmitatem pontis continerent, sed antorarum funes 

* summam M. * et ut Otho J/. ' in om. M. 

^ Brescello. 

- See below, chap. 39. Otho's brother, Titianiis, was ap- 
parently in nominal command, while Proculus possessed the 
real authority. 
216 



BOOK II, xxxiii.-xxxiv, 

taken refuge in flattery to prevent anyone from 
daring to oppose their views. When they had 
decided on an engagement, they debated whether it 
was better for the emperor to take part in the battle 
in person or to withdraw. PauHnus and Celsus 
now offered no opposition for fear that they might 
seem to expose the emperor to danger ; so the same 
councillors urged on him the baser course and 
persuaded him to withdraw to Brixellum^ and there, 
safe from the risks of battle, to reserve himself for 
the supreme control of the empire. This day first 
brought doom to Otho's side, for with him went a 
strong force of praetorians, of his bodyguard, and of 
horse, and the spirit of those w'ho remained was 
broken ; they suspected their generals ; and Otho, 
in whom alone the troops had confidence, Avhile he 
trusted no one but his soldiers, had left the authority 
of his generals in doubt.^ 

XXXIV. None of these facts escaped the know- 
ledge of the Vitellians, for there were many 
desertions, as is always the case in civil wars ; and 
spies, in their anxiety to inquire into the pui-poses of 
the other side, failed to conceal their own. Caecina 
and Valens quietly watched for their enemy's im- 
prudence to end in ruin, and, employing a common 
substitute for wisdom, waited to profit by their 
opponents' folly. They began a bridge and made a 
feint of crossing the Po in the face of a band of 
gladiators ; they also wished to keep their own 
men from spending their time in idleness. They 
arranged some boats at equal intervals, heading 
upstream, and fastened them together with strong 
beams at prow and stern. They also cast out 
anchors to make the bridges more secure ; the 

217 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

non extenti fluitabant, ut augescente flumine inoffen- 
sus ordo navium attolleretur. Claudebat pontem 
imposita turris et in extremam navem educta, unde 
tormentis ac machinis hostes propulsarentur. Otho- 
niani in ripa turrim struxerant saxaque et faces 
iaculabantur. 

XXXV. Et erat insula amne medio, in quam 
gladiatores navibus molientes, Germani nando prae- 
labebantur. Ac forte pluris transgressos completis 
Liburnicis per promptissimos gladiatorum Macer 
adgreditur : sed neque ea constantia gladiatoribus 
ad proelia quae militibus, nee proinde nutantes e 
navibus quam stabili gradu e ripa vulnera derigebant. 
Et cum 1 variis trepidantium inclinationibus mixti 
remiges propugnatoresque turbarentur, desiHre in 
vada ultro Germani, retentare puppis, scandere foros 
aut comminus mergere : quae cuncta in oculis 
utriusque exercitus quanto laetiora Vitellianis, tanto 
acrius Othoniani causam auctoremque cladis de- 
testabantur. 

XXXVI. Et proelium quidem, abruptis quae 

supererant navibus, fuga diremptum : Macer ad^ exi- 

tium poscebatur, iamque vulneratum eminus lancea 

strictis gladiis invaserant, cum intercursu tribunorum 

^ turn M. " ad om. M. 

1 Cf. ii. 16. 

2l8 



BOOK II. xxxiv.-xxxvi. 

cables they did not draw taut, but let them hang 
loose, so that when the river rose the line of boats 
was lifted without being disturbed. At the end of 
the bridge a tower was built and raised aloft on 
the last boat, that they might repulse the enemy by 
artillery and machines. Otho's troops had built a 
tower on the opposite bank and kept shooting stones 
and firebrands at the Vitellians. 

XXXV. In the middle of the river was an island, 
which the gladiators were trying to reach in boats, 
but the Germans swam across and anticipated them. 
When a considerable number of Germans had 
crossed, Macer filled some light Liburnian vessels ^ 
and attacked them with the bravest of his gladiators. 
But gladiators have not the same steadfast courage 
in battle as regular soldiers, and now in their 
unsteady boats they could not shoot so accurately as 
the Germans, who had firm footing on the shore ; 
and when the gladiators in their fright began to 
move about in confusion so that rowers and fighters 
were commingled and got in one another's way, the 
Germans actually jumped into the shallow water, 
held back the boats, and boarded them, or sank 
them with their hands. All this went on under the 
eyes of both armies, and the keener the delight it 
gave the Vitellians, the greater the indignation 
which Otho's followers felt toward Macer, who was 
the cause and author of their defeat. 

XXXVI. In fact the battle ended in flight, after 
the gladiators had succeeded in dragging off" the 
boats that were left. Then they began to clamour 
for Macer's life. Wounded as he was by a lance 
thrown from a distance, they had already attacked 
him with drawn swords, when he was saved by the 

219 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

centurionumque protegitur. Nee multo post V^es- 
tricius Spurinna iussu Othonis, relicto Placentiae 
modico praesidio, cum cohortibus subvenit. Dein 
Flavium Sabinum consulem designatum Otho 
rectorem copiis misit^ quibus Macer praefuerat^ laelo 
milite ad^ mutationem ducum et ducibus ob crebras 
seditiones tarn infestam militiam aspernantibus. 

XXXVII. Invenio apud qiiosdam auctores pavore 
belli seu fastidio utriusque principis^ quorum flagitia 
ac dedecus apertiore in dies fama noscebantur, 
dubitasse exercitus num posito certamine vel ipsi in 
medium consultarent, vel senatui permitterent legere 
imperatorem, atque eo duces Othonianos spatiura ac 
moras suasisse, praecipua spe ^ Paulini, quod vetustis- 
simus consularium^ et militia clarus gloriam nomenque 
Britannicis expeditionibus meruisset. Ego ut con- 
cesserim apud paucos tacito voto quietem pro dis- 
cordia, bonum et innocentem principem pro })essimis 
ac flagitiosissimis ex2)etitumj ita neque Paulinum, qua 
prudentia fuit, sperasse corruptissimo saeculo tantam 
vulgi moderationem reor ut qui pacem belli amore 
turbaverant, bellum pacis caintate deponerent, neque 
aut exercitus Unguis moribusque dissonos in hunc 
consensum potuisse coalescere, aut legates ac duces 
magna ex parte luxus egestatis scelerum sibi conscios 

* milite et ad M. 

^ praecipua spe Bipontini : praecipuas M. 

' consularium h'^ el Rhenamis : consiliarium M. 

' Cf. i. 77. 



BOOK II. xxxvi.-xxxvn. 

intervention of the tribunes and centurions. Shortly 
after, at Otho's orders, Vestricius Spurinna left a 
small garrison at Placentia and came with his 
cohorts of auxiliaries. Then Otho sent Flavins 
Sabinus,^ consul designate, to take command of 
Macer's forces. The soldiers were delighted at the 
change of generals, but the numerous mutinies had 
made the generals dislike so troublesome a command. 
XXXVII. In certain authorities I find it stated 
that, prompted by their fear of war or by their 
disgust with both emperors, whose shameful wicked- 
ness was becoming better known and more notorious 
every day, the armies debated whether they should 
not give up fighting and either consult together 
themselves or allow the senate to choose an emperor. 
This, it is urged, was the reason why the generals on 
Otho's side advised delay, and it is said that Paulinus 
had great hope of being chosen, since he was the 
senior ex-consul and by his distinguished service had 
won fame and reputation in his British campaigns. 
Now while I can grant that there were a few who 
silently prayed for peace instead of civil strife, and 
who wished a good and upright emperor instead of 
the worst rascals alive, still I do not believe that 
Paulinus, with his practical good sense, ever hoped 
for such moderation on the part of the people in 
that most corrupt age that the very men whose 
passion for war had destroyed peace would now 
abandon war from love of peace. Nor can I think 
that the two armies, whose habits and speech were 
so different, could ever have come to such an agree- 
ment or that the lieutenants and generals, most of 
whom were well aware of their own extravagance, 
poverty, and crimes, would ever have endured an 

221 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

nisi pollutum obstrictumque meritis suis principem 
passuros. 

XXXVIII. Vetus ac iam pridem insita mortalibus 
potentiae cupido cum imperii magnitudine adolevit 
erupitque ; nam rebus modicis aequalitas facile habe- 
batur. Sed ubi subacto orbe et aemulis urbibus 
regibusve excisis securas opes concupiscere vacuum 
fuit, prima inter patres plebemque certamina exar- 
sere. Modo turbulenti Iribuni, modo consules prae- 
validi, et in urbe ac foro tenijitamenta civilium 
bellorum ; mox e plebe infima C. Marius et nobilium 
saevissimus L. Sulla victam armis libertatem in 
dominationem verterunt. Post quos Cn. Pompeius 
occultior non melior, et numquam postea nisi de 
principatu quaesitum. Non discessere ab armis in 
Pharsalia ac Philippis civium legiones, nedum Othonis 
ac Vitellii exercitus sponte posituri bellum fuerint : 
eadem illos deum ira, eadem hominum rabies, eaedem 
scelerum causae in discordiam egere. Quod singulis 
velut ictibus transacta sunt bella, ignavia principum 
factum est. Sed me veterum novorumque morum 
reputatio longius tulit : nunc ad rerum ordinem 
venio. 

XXXIX. Profecto Brixellum Othone honor imperii 
penes Titianum fratrem, vis ac potestas penes 

1 The tribunes Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, Saturninus, 
and Drusus, the consuls Appius Claudius aud Lucius Opimius 
are probablj' meant. 

222 



BOOK VIII. xxxvii.-xxxix. 

emperor unless he was foul with vice and under 
obligations to them. 

XXXVIII. The old greed for power, long in- 
grained in mankind, came to full growth and broke 
bounds as the empire became great. When resources 
were moderate, equality was easily maintained ; but 
when the world had been subjugated and rival 
states or kings destroyed, so that men were free 
to covet wealth without anxiety, then the first 
quarrels between patricians and plebeians broke out. 
N"ow the tribunes made trouble, again the consuls 
usurped too much power ; ^ in the city and forum 
the first essays at civil war were made. Later Gaius 
Marius, who had sprung from tlie dregs of the 
people, and that most cruel of nobles, Lucius Sulla, 
defeated liberty with arms and turned it into 
tyranny. After them came Gnaeus Pompey, no 
better man than they, but one who concealed his 
purpose more cleverly ; and thenceforth there was 
never any aim but supreme power. The legions 
made up of Roman citizens did not lay down their 
arms at Pharsalia or Philippi ; much less were the 
armies of Otho and Vitellius likely to abandon war 
voluntarily. The same divine wrath, the same human 
madness, the same motives to crime drove them on 
to strife. The fact that these wars were ended by a 
single blow, so to speak, was due to the worthless- 
ness of the empei'ors. However, my reflections on 
the character of antiquity and of modern times have 
taken me too far afield ; now I return to my 
narrative. 

XXXIX. When Otho left for Brixellum the 
nominal command fell to his brother Titianus, but 
the real authority was in tlie hands of the prefect 

223 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Proculum praefectum ; Celsus et Paulinus, cum 
prudentia eorum nemo uteretur, inani nomine ducum 
alienae culpae praetendebantur ; tribuni centuriones- 
que ambigui quod spretis melioribus deterrimi vale- 
bant ; miles alacer, qui tamen iussa ducum interpre- 
tari quam exequi mallet. Promoveri ad quartum a 
Bedriaco castra placuit, adeo imperite ut quamquam 
verno tempore anni et tot circum amnibus-'^ penuria 
aquae fatigarentur. Ibi de proelio dubitatum, 
Othone per litteras flagitante ut maturarent, militibus 
ut imperator pugnae adesset poscentibus : plerique 
copias trans Padum agentis acciri postulabant. Nee 
proinde diiudicari potest quid optimum factu fuerit, 
quam pessimum fuisse quod factum est. 

XL. Non ut ad pugnam sed ad bellandum profecti 
confluentis Padi et Aduae fluminum, sedecim inde 
milium spatio distantis, petebant. Celso et Paulino 
abnuentibus militem itinere fessum, sarcinis gravem 
obicere hosti, non omissuro quo minus expeditus et 
vix quattuor milia passuum progressus aut incom- 
positos in agmine aut dispersos et vallum molientis 
adgrederetur, Titianus et Proculus, ubi consiliis vin- 
cerentur, ad ius imperii transibant. Aderat sane 

^ mauibus M. 

1 The Adda to-day. Since the march as here described 

would have exposed Otho's troops to a flank attack, 

Mommsen and others have doubted the accuracy of this 
account. 

224 



BOOK II. xxxix.-xL. 

Proculus. As for Celsus and Paulinus, no one made 
any use of their practical knowledge ; with the empty 
title of generals they only served to cloak the faults 
of others. The tribunes and centurions knew not 
what to do, because the better men were thrust 
aside and the worst held the power ; the soldiers 
were enthusiastic, but they preferred to criticize 
their generals' orders rather than to execute them. 
It was decided to move camp to the fourth mile- 
stone from Bedriacum, but the advance was made 
in such ignorance that, in spite of the fact that it 
was spring and there were many rivers all about 
them, the troops were distressed by lack of water. 
There they discussed the question of a battle, for 
Otho kept sending dispatches urging them to hurry, 
while the soldiers kept demanding that the emperor 
take part in the engagement ; many insisted that 
the troops operating across the Po be called in. It 
is not so easy to decide what they should have done 
as it is to be sure that the action they took was the 
worst possible. 

XL. Setting out as if they were starting on a 
campaign and not going into battle, they aimed to 
reach the confluence of the Po and the Adua,i sixteen 
miles away. Celsus and Paulinus refused to expose 
their soldiers, weary as they were with their march 
and weighed down with baggage, to the enemy, 
who, unencumbered with baggage, after marching 
hardly four miles, would not lose the ojiportunity 
to attack them either while in disorder on the 
march or while scattered and engaged in fortifying 
camp. Thereupon Titianus and Proculus, being 
defeated in council, sought refuge in the imperial 
authority. And it is true that a Numidian arrived 

225 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

citus equo Numida cum atrocibus mandatis, quibus 
Otho increpita ducum segnitia rem in discrimen 
mitti iubebat, aeger mora et spei impatiens. 

XLI. Eodem die ad Caecinam operi pontis intentum 
duo praetoriarum cohortium tribuni, conloquium eius 
postulanteSj venerunt : audire condiciones ac reddere 
parabat, cum praecipites exploratores^ adesse hostem 
nuntiavere. Interruptus tribunorum sermo, eoque 
incertum fuit insidias an proditionem vel aliquod 
honestum consilium coeptaverint. Caecina dimissis 
tribunis revectus in castra datum iussu Fabii Valentis 
piignae signum et miUtem in armis invenit. Dum 
legiones de ordine agminis sortiuntur^ equites pro- 
rupere ; et mirum dictu, a paucioribus Othonianis 
quo minus in vallum inpingerentur, Italicae legionis 
virtute deterriti sunt : ea strictis^ mucronibus redire 
pulses et pugnam resumere coegit. Disposita Vitel- 
lianarum legionum acies^ sine trepidatione : etenim 
quamquam vicino hoste aspectus armorum densis 
arbustis pi'ohibebatur. Apud Othonianos pavidi 
duces^ miles ducibus infensus^ mixta vehicula et 
lixae^ et praeruptis utrimque fossis via quieto quoque 
agmini angusta. Circumsistere alii signa sua, quae- 

^ Explora j adesse M. 

^ ea strictis Rhenanus : et astrictis M. 

^ acies Lipsius : arte M. 



1 Cf. ii. 34 f. 



226 



BOOK II. XL.-xLi. 

post-haste witli imperative commands from Otho, 
who, sick of dehiy and too impatient to rest on hope, 
rebuked his generals for their inaction and ordered 
them to bring matters to an issue. 

XLI. On the same day, while Caecina was busy 
with the construction of his bridge,^ two tribunes of 
the praetorian cohorts came to him and asked for 
an interview, Caecina was preparing to liear their 
proposals and to make counter propositions when 
suddenly scouts reported that the enemy was upon 
them. The conversation with the tribunes was 
broken off, and so it remained uncertain whether 
they were attempting some plot or treachery, or 
rather had in mind some honest purpose. Caecina, 
dismissing the tribunes, rode back to camp, where 
he found that Fabius Valens had ordered the signal 
for battle to be given and that the troops were 
under arms. While the legions were casting lot for 
positions in the line, the cavalry charged, but, 
strange to relate, they were kept from being driven 
back within their entrenchments by an inferior force 
of Otho's troo])S only through the courageous action 
of the Italian legion. This at the point of the 
sword compelled the beaten cavalry to wheel about 
and renew the battle. The legions of Vitellius 
formed in line without disorder, for although the 
enemy were close by, dense thickets made it im- 
possible to see their arms. On Otho's side the 
generals were nervous, the soldiers disaffected to- 
wards the generals, wagons and camp-followers were 
mixed in confusion with the troops; moreover, the 
road, with deep ditches on either side, was narrow 
even for an army which was adv^ancing quietly. 
Some of the ti'oops were gathered about their proper 

227 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

rere alii ; incertus undique clamor adcurrentium, 
vocantium : ut cuique audacia vel formido, in 
primam postremamve aciem prorumpebant aut 
relabebantur. 

XLII. Attonitas subito terrore mentis falsum 
gaudium in languorem vertit, repertis qui descivisse 
a Vitellio exercitum ementirentur. Is rumor ab 
exploratoribus Vitellii dispersus, an in ipsa Othonis 
parte seu dolo seu forte surrexerit, parum compertum. 
Omisso pugnae ardore Othoniani ultro salutavere ; 
et Iiostili murmure excepti, plerisque suorum ignaris 
quae causa salutandi, metum proditionis fecere. Turn 
incubuit hostium acies, integris ordinibus, robore et 
numero praestantior : Othoniani, quamquam dispersi, 
pauciores, fessi, proelium tamen acriter sumpsere. 
Et per locos arboribus ac vineis impeditos non una 
pugnae facies : comminus eminus, catervis et cuneis 
concurrebant. In aggere viae conlato gradu cor- 
poribus et umbonibus niti, omisso pilorum iactu 
gladiis^ et securibus galeas loricasque perrumpere : 
noscentes inter se, ceteris conspicui, in eventum 
totius belli certabant. 

XLIII. Forte inter Padum viamque patenti campo 
^ gladibus M^, cladibus M. 

^ That is, on the raised causewaj' of the Via Postumia, tlie 
high road on the left bank of the Po. Cf. ii. 24 

228 



BOOK II. xLi.-xLiii. 

standards, others were liunting to find theirs. From 
every side rose confused shouts of those running to 
their places or calling their comrades ; soldiers 
rushed to the front or slunk to the rear as courage 
or fear prompted in each case. 

XLII. The sudden consternation and fright of 
Otho's men were changed to indifference by an un- 
warranted joy, for some men were found who spread 
the false report that the army of V^itellius had 
deserted him. It was never discovered whether this 
rumour was spread by Vitellian scouts or whether it 
started on Otho's side through treachery or by chance. 
In any case Otho's men lost all enthusiasm for battle 
and actually cheered their foes ; but the Vitellians 
received their cheers with hostile murmurings, and 
this made Otho's men fear treachery, for most of 
them did not know the reason for the cheering. 
Then the Vitellians charged : their lines were intact ; 
they were superior in strength and in numbers. 
However, Otho's troops put up a brave resistance 
in spite of their disordered ranks, their inferior 
numbers, and their fatigue. The fact that in places 
the ground was encumbered by trees and vineyards 
gave the battle many aspects : the troops fought now 
hand to hand, again at a distance : they charged 
now in detachments, again in column. On the 
raised road^ they struggled at close quarters, press- 
ing with the weight of their bodies behind their 
shields ; they threw no spears, but crashed swords 
and axes through helmets and breastplates. They 
could recognize one another, they could be seen by 
all the rest, and they were fighting to decide the 
issue of the whole war. 

XLII I. In the open plain between the Po and 

229 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

duae legiones congressae sunt^ pro V'itellio unaetvi- 
censima cui cognomen Rapaci, vetere gloria insignis, 
e parte Othonis prima Adiutrix, non ante in aciem 
dediicta, sed ferox et novi decoris avida. Primani 
stratis unaetvicensimanorum ^ principiis aquilam 
abstulere ; quo dolore accensa legio et impulit 
rursus primanos, interfecto Orfidio Benigno legato, 
et plurima signa vexillaque ex hostibus rapuit. A 
parte alia propulsa quintanorum impetu tertia decima 
legio, circumventi plurium adcursu quartadecimani. 
Et ducibus Othonis iani pridem profugis Caecina ac 
Valens subsidiis suos firmabant. Accessit recens 
auxiliuni. Varus- Alfenus cum Batavis, fusa gladia- 
torum manu, quam navibus transvectam ob})Ositae 
cohortes in ipso Humine trucidaverant : ita victores 
latus hostium invecti. 

XLIV. Et media acie pei'rupta fugere passim 
Othoniani, Bedriacum petentes. Immensum id 
spatium, obstructae strage corporum viae, quo plus 
caedis fuit ; neque enim civilibus bellis capti in 
praedam vertuntur. Suetonius Paulinus et Licinius 
Proculus diversis itineribus castra vitavere. Vedium 
Aquilam tertiae decimae legionis legatum irae militum 
inconsultus pavor obtulit. Multo adhuc die vallum 
ingressus clamore seditiosoruni et fugacium circum- 

^ mif et vicensiinamorum M. 
• Varus Rhenaaus : vareniis M. 

^ "The Invincibles," from Upper Germany. 
" " The Helpers," made up of the marines. Cf. i. 6. 
' From Lower Germany. Cf. i. 61. 
^ From Pannonia. Cf. ii. 24. 

'" Somewhere between twelve and sixteen Roman miles. 
* Plutarch, Otho xiv. makes a similar remark. Dio Cgissius 
(Ixiv. 10) says that a total of over 40,000 fell in this battle. 

230 



BOOK xLiii.-xLiv. 

the road two legions happened to engage. On the 
side of Vitellius was the Twenty-first, also called the 
Rapax,^ a legion long renowned ; on Otho's was 
the First Adjutrix^ which had never been in an 
engagement before, but which was enthusiastic and 
eager to win its first success. The First cut down 
the front ranks of the Twenty-first and captured 
their eagle ; thereupon shame at this loss so fired 
the Twenty-first that they drove back the First, 
killed their commander, Orfidius Benignus, and 
captured many colours and standards. In another 
part of the field tlie Fifth ^ charged and routed 
the Thirteenth * legion ; the Fourteenth was sur- 
rounded by a superior force which attacked it. 
Otho's generals had long before fled. Caecina and 
Valens began to strengthen their forces by bringing 
up reserves ; and a new reinforcement came when 
Varus Alfenus arrived with the Batavians. They 
had routed the gladiators who had crossed the river 
in boats, by meeting them with cohorts which cut 
them down while still in the water. So in the full 
flush of victory they assailed the enemy's flank. 

XLIV. The Othonians' centre was now broken 
and they fled in disorder, making for Bedriacum. 
The distance to be covered was vast ; ^ the roads 
were blocked with dead, and so the carnage was 
greater : for in civil wars captives are not turned 
to profit.^ Suetonius Paulinus and Licinius Proculus 
took different roads and avoided the camp. Vedius 
Aquila, commander of the Thirteenth legion, was so 
terrified that he thoughtlessly exposed himself to 
the angry troops. It was still broad day when he 
entered camp and was surrounded by a shouting 
mob of mutinous fugitives. They spared no insult or 

231 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

strepitur ; non probris, non manibus abstinent ; 
desertorem proditoremque increpant, nullo proprio 
crimine eius sed more vulgi suum quisque flagitium 
aliis obiectantes. Titianum et Celsum nox iuvit, 
dispositis iam excubiis conpressisque militibus, quos 
Annius Gallus consilio precibus auctoritate flexerat, 
ne super cladem adversae pugnae suismet ipsi caedi- 
bus saevirent : sive finis bello venisset seu resumere 
arma mallent, unicum victis in consensu levamentum. 
Ceteris fractus animus : praetorianus miles non 
virtute se sed proditione victum fremebat : ne 
Vitellianis quidem incruentam fuisse victoriam, pulso 
equite, rapta legionis aquila ; superesse cum ipso 
Othone militum quod trans Padum fuerit, venire 
Moesicas legiones^ niagnam exercitus partem Bedriaci 
remansisse : hos certe nondum victos et, si ita ferret, 
honestius in acie perituros. His cogitationibus truces 
aut pavidi extrema desperatione ad iram saepius quam 
in formidinem stimulabantur. 

XLV. At Vitellianus exercitus ad quintum a 
Bedriaco lapidem consedit, non ausis ducibus eadem 
die obpugnationem castrorum ; simul voluntaria 
deditio sperabatur : sed expeditis et tantum ad 
proelium egressis munimentum fuere arma et 



^ Gallus had remained in camp (ii. 33), and therefore was 
not Vjlamed by the soldiers. 

' That is, without their trenching tools and stakes for 
building a rampart. 

232 



BOOK II. XLIV.-XLV. 

violence ; they greeted him with cries of " deserter " 
and ''traitor/' not because of any crime of his own, 
but, after the habit of mobs, every man imputed 
to him his own shame. Night assisted Titianus 
and Celsus, for Annius Gallus ^ had ah'eady placed 
sentinels and got the soldiers under control. By 
advice, appeals, and commands he had induced the 
men not to add to the cruelty of their defeat by 
massacring their own leaders ; he urged that whether 
the end of the war had come or whether they pre- 
ferred to resume hostilities, their sole resource in 
defeat lay in concord. The spirit of the rest was 
broken ; but the praetorians angrily declared that 
they had been defeated by treachery, not by the 
valour of their foes. "The troops of Vitellius," they 
maintained, " have not won a bloodless victory ; we 
routed tlieir cavalry, and captured the legion's 
eagle. Otho and the force Avith him on the other 
side of the Po are still left us ; the legions from 
Moesia are on their way hither ; a large part of the 
army is still at Bedriacum. These surely have not 
been defeated, and, if occasion require, they will 
consider it more honourable to die in open battle." 
Such reflections now roused them to exasperation, 
or again depressed them ; in their utter despair 
they were more often goaded to fury than to fear. 

XLV, But tlie army of Vitellius lialted at the 
fifth milestone from Bedriacum, for the commanders 
did not dare to try to carry their opponents' camp by 
storm on the same day ; and at the same time they 
hoped that Otho's troops would surrender volun- 
tarily; but, although they had set out without their 
heavy equipment,^ and with no other purpose than 
to give battle, their arms and their victory served 

233 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

victoria. Postera die haud ambigua Othoniani exer- 
citus voluiitate et qui ferociores fuerant ad paeni- 
tentiam inclinantibus missa legatio ; nee apud duces 
Vitellianos dubitatum quo minus pacem concederent. 
Legati paulisper retenti : ea res haesitationem 
attulit ignaris adhuc an impetrassent. Mox remissa 
legatione patuit vallum. Turn victi victoresque in 
lacrimas effusi, sortem civilium armorum misera 
laetitia detestantes ; isdem tentoriis alii fratrum, alii 
propinquorum vulnera fovebant ; spes et praemia in 
ambiguo, certa funera et 1 actus, nee quisquam adeo 
mali expers ut non aliquam mortem maereret. 
Requisitum Orfidii legati corpus honore solito 
crematur ; paucos necessarii ipsorum sepelivere, cete- 
rum vulgus super humum relictum. 

XLVI. Opperiebatur Otho nuntium pugnae ne- 
quaquam trepidus et consilii certus. Maesta primum 
fama, dein profugi e proelio perditas res patefaciunt. 
Non expectavit militum ardor vocem imperatoris ; 
bonum haberet animum iubebant : superesse adhuc 
novas viris, et ipsos extrema passuros ausurosque. 
Neque erat adulatio : ire in aciem, excitare partium 
fortunam furore quodam et instinctu flagrabant. 
Qui procul adstiterant,^ tendere manus, et proximi 

^ astiterant M. 

1 At Brixellum. Cf. ii. 33 39. 
234 



BOOK xLv.-XLvi. 

them as a ramj)art. The next day the wishes 
of Otho's troops were clear beyond doubt ; even 
those who had been most determined were inclined 
to change their views. Accordingly they sent a 
deputation, and the generals of Vitellius did not 
long hesitate to grant terms. But the deputation 
was detained for a time, and this action disturbed 
those who did not know whether they had secured 
terms or not ; presently, however, the delegates 
were let go and the gates of the camp were opened. 
Then vanquished and victors alike burst into tears, 
cursing, amid their melancholy joy, the fate of civil 
war. In the same tents some nursed the wounds of 
brothers, others of relatives. Their hopes of reward 
were doubtful ; but they knew for certainties the 
bereavements and sorrows that they suffered, and 
none of them was so free from misfortune as not to 
mourn some loss. The body of the legate Orfidius 
was discovered and burned with the usual honours, 
a few others were buried by their relatives, but the 
majority of the fallen were left lying on the ground. 
XLVI. Otho was waiting ^ for a report of the 
battle without anxiety and Avith determined purpose. 
First there came a distressing rumour ; then fugi- 
tives from the field showed clearly that the day was 
lost. But the troops in their zeal did not wait for 
the emperor to speak ; they urged him to keep up 
his courage, for there were fresh troops left; and 
they declared that they were ready themselves to 
dare and suffer anything. Nor was this flattery : 
they were fired by an almost passionate desire to go 
into action and raise again the fortunes of their 
party. The soldiers who were not near him stretched 
out their hands to him appealingl}"^, those near him 

235 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

prensare genua, promptissimo Plotio Firmo. Is 
praetorii praefectus ideutidem orabat ne fidissimum 
exercitum, ne optime meritos milites desereret : 
maiore animo tolerari adversa quam relinqui ; fortis 
et strenuos etiam contra fortunam insistere spei, 
timidos et ignavos ad desperationem formidine pro- 
perare. Quas inter voces ut flexerat vultum aut 
induraverat Otho, clamor et gemitus. Nee praetori- 
ani tantum, proprius^ Othonis miles, sed praemissi e 
Moesia eandem obstinationem adventantis exercitus, 
legiones Aquileiam ingressas nuntiabant, ut nemo 
dubitet potuisse renovari bellum atrox, lugubre, 
incertum victis et victoribus. 

XLVII. Ipse aversus a consiliis belli " hunc " 
inquit "animum, banc virtutem vestrani ultra peri- 
culis obicere nimis grande vitae meae pretium puto. 
Quanto plus spei ostenditis, si vivere placeret, tanto 
pulchrior mors erit. Experti in vicem sumus ego ac 
fortuna. Nee tempus conputaveritis : difficilius est 
temperare felicitati qua te non putes diu usurum. 
Civile bellum a Vitellio coepit, et ut de principatu 
certaremus armis initium illic fuit : ne plus quam 
semel certemus penes me exemplum erit ; hinc 

^ propius M. 
236 



BOOK II. xi.vi.-xLvii. 

clasped liis knees. The most zealous of all was 
Plotius Firmus, the prefect of the praetorian guard, 
who constantly begged him not to fail an army 
which was absolutely loyal, and soldiers who had 
served him so well. He reminded Otho that it 
called for greater courage to endure adversity than 
to yield to it ; that brave and courageous men press 
on even against ill fortune to attain their hopes ; the 
timid and cowardly are quickly moved to despair by 
fear. During these appeals the soldiers cheered 
or broke into groans as Otho's face showed signs of 
giving way to their appeals or grew hard. The 
praetorians, Otho's personal force, were not the only 
ones who encouraged him. The advance detach- 
ments from Moesia declared that the troops which 
were on their way were just as determined, and 
they reported that the legions had entered Aquileia, 
so that no one can doubt that it would have been quite 
possible to renew this cruel and awful war, with uncer- 
tain results for both the victors and the vanquished. 
XLVII. Otho himself was opposed to the plan ot 
continuing the war. "To expose such courageous 
and brave men as you to further dangers," he said, 
" I reckon too great a price for my life. The greater 
the hope you offer me, if it were my wish to live, so 
much the more glorious will be my deatii. Fortune 
and I know each other well. Do not reckon up the 
short duration of my rule ; it is all the harder to 
make a moderate use of a good fortune which you do 
not expect to enjoy long. Vitellius began civil war ; 
it was he who initiated the armed contest between us 
for the imperial power ; but we shall not contend 
more than once, for it is in my power to set a 
precedent for that. I would have posterity thus 

237 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Othonem posteritas aestimet. Fruetur Vitellius 
fratre, coniuge, liberis : mihi non ultione neque 
solaciis opus est. Alii diutius iinperium tenuerint, 
nemo tarn fortiter reliquerit. An ego tantum 
Romanae pubis, tot egregios exercitus sterni rursus 
et rei publicae eripi patiar ? Eat hie mecum animus, 
tamquam perituri pro me fueritis, set este superstites. 
Nee diu moremur, ego incolumitatem vestram, vos 
constantiam meam. Plura de extremis loqui pars 
ignaviae est. Praecipuum destinationis meae docu- 
mentum habete quod de nemine queror ; nam incu- 
sare deos vel homines eius est qui vivere velit." 

XLVIII. Talia locutus, ut cuique aetas aut dignitas, 
comiter appellatos, irent propere neu remanendo 
iram victoris asperarent, iuvenes auctoritate, senes 
preeibus movebat, placidus ore, intrepidus verbis, 
intempestivas suorum lacrimas coercens. Dari navis 
ac vehicula abeuntibus iubet ; libellos epistulasque 
studio erga se aut in Vitellium contumeliis insignis 
abolet ; pecunias distribuit parce nee ut^ periturus. 
Mox Salvium Cocceianum, fratris fibum, prima 
iuventa, trepidum et maerentem ultro solatus est, 
laudando pietatem eius, castigando formidinem : an 
\'itellium tam inmitis animi fore ut pro incolumi 
tota domo ne banc quidem sibi gratiam redderet .'' 
Mereri se festinato exitu clementiam victoris ; non 

^ ne cui M. 

1 Cocceianus was Titianus's son. He was later put to 
death by Domitian for celebrating Otho's birtlida}'. 

2 Otho had left unharmed the mother and children of 
Vitellius. Cf. i. 75. 

238 



BOOK II. XLVII.-XLVIII 

judge Otho. Vitellius shall enjoy liis brother, liis 
wife, and his children ; I require neither vengeance 
nor solace. Others may hold the power longer than 
I ; none shall give it up more bravely. Would you 
have me suffer so many of Rome's young men, such 
noble armies, to be again cut down and lost to the 
state .'' Let me carry with me the thought of your 
willingness to die for me ; but you must live. Now 
there must be no more delay ; let me not interfere 
with your safety, or you with my determination. 
To talk at length about the end is cowardice. 
Regard as the chief proof of my resolve the fact 
that I complain of no man. It is for him to blame 
gods or men who has the wish to live." 

XLV^III. After Otho had spoken thus, he addressed 
all courteously as befitted the age or rank of the 
individual, and urged them to go quickly and not to 
incite the victor's wrath by remaining. The young 
men he persuaded by his authority, the older by his 
appeals ; his face was calm, his words showed no 
fear ; but he checked the unseasonable tears of his 
friends. He gave orders that boats and carriages 
should be furnished those who were leaving. Every 
document or letter which was marked by loyalty 
towards him or by abuse of Vitellius he destroyed. 
He distributed money, but sparingly and not as if 
he were about to die. Then he took pains to con- 
sole his nephew, Salvius Cocceianus,^ who was very 
young, frightened, and sad, praising his dutiful 
affection, but reproving his fear. He asked him if 
he thought Vitellius would prove so cruel as not to 
grant him even such a return as this for saving his 
whole house. 2 " By my quick end," said he, " I 
can earn the clemency of the victor. For it is not 

239 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

enim ultima desperatione sed poscente proelium 
exercitu remisisse rei publicae novissimum casum. 
Satis sibi nominis, satis posterls suis nobilitatis 
quaesitum. Post lulios Claudios Servios se primum 
in familiam novam imperium intulisse : proinde 
erecto animo capesseret vitam, neu patruum sibi 
Othonem fuisse aut oblivisceretur umquani aut 
nimium meminisset. 

XLIX. Post quae dimotis omnibuspaulum requievit. 
Atque ilium supremas iam curas animo volutantem 
repens tumultus avertit, nuntiata consternatione ac 
licentia militum ; n;unque abeuntibus exitium mini- 
tabantur^ atrocissima in Verginium vi, quem clausa 
domo obsidebant. Increpitis seditionis auctoribus 
regressus vacavit abeuntium adloquiis, donee omnes 
inviolati digrederentur. Vesperascente die sitim 
liaustu gelidae aquae sedavit. Turn adlatis pugioni- 
bus duobus, cum utrumque pertemptasset, alterum 
capiti subdidit. Et explorato iam profectos amicos, 
noctem quietam, utque adfirmatur, non insomnem 
egit : luce prima in ferrum pectore incubuit. Ad 
gemitum morientis ingressi liberti servique et 
Plotius Firmus praetorii praefectus unum vulnus 
invenere. Funus maturatum ; ambitiosis id precibus 
petierat ne amputaretur caput ludibrio futurum. 
Tulere corpus praetoriae cohortes cum laudibiis et 



^ Consul Suffectus at this time (cf. i. 77) ; he was later 
victorious over Vindex. 
'^ The date was April 16. 

240 



BOOK II. XLviii,-xLix. 

in the extremity of despair, but while my army is 
still demanding battle that I have saved the state 
this last misfortune. I have won enough fame for 
myself, enough high rank for my descendants. 
After the Julii, the Claudii, and the Servii, I have 
been the first to confer the imperial rank on a 
new family. Therefore face life with a brave heart ; 
never forget or too constantly remember that Otho 
was your uncle." 

XLIX. After this he sent all away and rested for a 
time. As he was already pondering in his heart the 
last cares of life, he was interrupted by a sudden 
uproar and received word that the soldiers in their 
dismay had become mutinous and were out of 
control. In fact they were threatening with death 
all who wished to depart ; they were most violent 
against Verginius,! whom they had shut up in his 
house and were now besieging. Otho reproved the 
ringleaders and then returned to his quarters, where 
he gave himself up to interviews with those who were 
departing, until all had left unharmed. As evening 
approached he slaked his thirst with a draught of 
cold water. Then two daggers were brouglit him ; 
he tried the points of both and placed one beneath 
his head. After learning that his friends had gone, 
he passed a quiet night, and indeed, as is affirmed, 
he even slept somewhat. At dawn lie fell on the 
steel. 2 At the sound of his dying groans his freed- 
men and slaves entered, and with them Plotius 
Firmus, the prefect of the praetorian guard ; they 
found but a single wound. His funeral was hurriedly 
accomplished. He had earnestly begged that this be 
done, that his head might not be cut off to be an 
object of insult. Praetorians bore his body to the 

241 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

lacrimis, vulnus manusque eius exosculantes. Quidam 
militum iuxta rogiim inteifecere se, non noxa neque 
ob metum, sed aemulatione decoris et caritate 
principis. Ac postea promisee Bedriaci, Placentiae 
aliisque in castris celebratum id genus mortis. 
Othoni sepulchrum extructum est modicum et 
mansurum. Hunc vitae finem habuit septimo et 
tricensimo aetatis anno. 

L. Origo illi e municipio Ferentino/ pater consu- 
laris, avus jiraetorius; maternum genus impar nee 
tamen indecorum. Pueritia ac iuventa, qualem 
monstravimus. Duobus facinoribus, altero flagitio- 
sissimo, altero egregio, tantundem apud posteros 
meruit bonae famae quantum malae. Ut conquirere 
fabulosa et fictis oblectare legentium animos procul 
gravitate coepti operis crediderim, ita vulgatis tradi- 
tisque demere fidem non ausim. Die^ quo Bedriaci 
certabatur^ avem invisitata specie apud Regium 
Lepidum celebri luco consedisse incolae memorant, 
nee deinde coetu hominum aut circumvolitantium 
alitum territam pulsamve, donee Otho se ipse inter- 
ficeret ; tum ablatam ex oculis : et tempora repu- 
tantibus initium finemque miraculi cum Othonis 
exitu competisse. 

LI. In funere eius novata luctu ac dolore militum 

^ Ferentino Pntcolanus : ferentio Af. 

^ In southern Etruria ; Ferento to day. 
^ His mother, Albia Ferentia, sprang from an equestrian 
family. 

^ The murder of Galba and his own suicide. 
* Reggio, between Modena and Parma. 

242 



BOOK II. xLix.-Li. 

pyrCj praising him amid their tears and kissing his 
wound and his hands. Some soldiers slew themselves 
near his pyre, not because of any fault or from fear, 
but prompted by a desire to imitate his glorious 
example and moved by affection for their emperor. 
Afterwards many of every rank chose this form of 
death at Bedriacum, Placentia, and in other camps 
as well. The tomb erected for Otho was modest, 
and therefore likely to endure. So he ended his 
life in the thirty-seventh year of his age. 

L. Otho was born in the municipal town of 
Ferentinum^; his father had held the consulship, 
his grandfather had been praetor. His mother's 
family was not the equal of his father's, but still it 
was respectable. 2 His boyhood and youth were such 
as we have already described. By two bold deeds, 
the one most outrageous, the other glorious,"* he 
gained with posterity as much fame as evil reputa- 
tion. While I must hold it inconsistent with the 
dignity of the work I have undertaken to collect 
fabulous tales and to delight my readers with 
fictitious stories, I cannot, however, dare to deny the 
truth of common tradition. On the day of the 
battle at Bedriacum, according to the account given 
by the people of that district, a bird of unusual 
appearance settled in a much-frequented grove near 
Regium Lepidum,* and neither the concourse of 
people nor tiie other birds which flew about it 
frightened it or drove it away, until Otho had com- 
mitted suicide ; then it disappeared from view. And 
they add that when people reckoned up the time, 
they found that the beginning and end of this 
marvel coincided with Otho's death. 

LI. At his funeral the soldiers' grief and sorrow 

243 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

seditio, nee erat qui coereeret. Ad Verginium versi, 
modo ut reciperet imperium, nune ut legatione apud 
Caecinam ae Valentem fungeretur, minitantes ora- 
bant : Verginius per aversam domus partem furtim 
digressus inrumpentis ^ frustratus est, Earum quae 
Brixelli egerant cohortium preces Rubrius Gallus 
tulit, et venia^ statim impetrata, concedentibus ad 
victorem per Flavium Sabinum iis copiis quibus 
praefuerat. 

LI I. Posito ubique bello magna pars senatus 
extremum discrimen adiit, profecta cum Othone ab 
urbe, dein Mutinae relicta. IIluc adverse de proelio 
adlatum : sed milites ut falsum rumorem aspernantes, 
quod infensum Othoni senatum arbitrabantur, custo- 
dire sermones, vultum habitumque trahere in 
deterius ; conviciis postremo ae probris causam et 
initium caedis quaerebant, cum alius insuper metus 
senatoribus instaret, ne praevalidis lam Vitellii parti- 
bus cunctanter excepisse victoriam crederentur. Ita 
trepidi et utrimque anxii coeunt, nemo privatim 
expedite consilio, inter multos societate culpae tutior. 
Onerabat paventium curas ordo Mutinensis arma et 
pecuniam offerendo, appellabatque patres conscriptos 
intempestivo honore. 

* degressus inrumpente M. * veniam M. 

* Modena. 
244 



BOOK II. Li.-Lii. 

caused the mutiny to break out afresh, and there 
was no one to check it. Tlie soldiers turned to 
V^erginius and threateningly besought him, now to 
accept the imperial office, again to act as their envoy 
to Caecina and Valens. Verginius slipj)ed away by 
stealth through the rear of his house and so escaped 
them when they burst in the doors. Rubrius 
Gallus brought the aj)peals of the cohorts who had 
been quartered at Brixellum. Tliey were at once 
forgiven, and the troops that Flavius Sabinus had 
commanded made known through him their adhesion 
to the victor. 

LI I. Although fighting had now ceased at every 
point, a large part of the senate, which had set out 
from Rome with Otho and then been left at Mutina,^ 
encountered extreme danger. News of the defeat 
was brought to Mutina ; but the soldiers treated the 
report with scorn, believing it false, and since they 
thought the senate hostile to Otho, they began to 
watch the senators' conversation and to put an 
unfavourable interpretation on their looks and bear- 
ing. Finally, resorting to abuse and insults, they 
looked for an excuse to start a massacre, while in 
addition the senators were weighed down by the 
further fear that, now the party of V^itellius was 
dominant, they might be held to have been slow 
in accepting the victory. Thus they assembled, 
frightened and distressed by a double anxiety ; 
none was ready with any plan of his own, but each 
felt the safer in sharing liis guilt with many. The 
local senate of Mutina added to the distress of the 
terrified company by offering them arms and money, 
and with an untimely compliment addressed them as 
" Conscript Fathers." 

245 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

LIII. Notabile iurgium ^ fuit quo Licinius Caecina 
Marcellum Eprium ut ambigua disserentem invasit. 
Nee ceteri sententias aperiebant : sed invisum 
memoria delationum expositumque ad invidiam 
Marcelli nomen inritaverat Caecinam, ut novus 
adhue et in senatum nuper adscitus magnis inimi- 
citiis claresceret. Moderatione meliorum dirempti. 
Et rediere omnes Bononiam, rursus consiliaturi ; 
simul medio temporis plures nuntii sperabantur. 
Bononiae, divisis per itinera qui recentissimum 
quemque percontarentur,^ interrogatus Othonis li- 
bertus^ causam digressus habere se suprema eius 
mandatarespondit ; ipsuni viventem quidem relictum^ 
sed sola posteritatis cura et abruptis vitae blandi- 
mentis. Hinc admiratio et plura interrogandi pudor, 
atque omnium animi in Vitellium inclinavere. 

LIV. Intererat consiliis frater eius I^. Vitellius 
seque iam adulantibus ofFerebat, cum repente Coenus 
libertus Neronis atroci mendacio universos perculit, 
adfirmans superventu quartae decimae legionis, 
iunctis a Brixello viribus, caesos victores ; versam 
partium fortunam. Causa fingendi fuit ut diplomata 
Othonis^ quae neglegebantur, laetiore nuntio reva- 
lescerent. Et Coenus quidem raptim in * urbem 

'■ iurgium Bekker : virgenium M. 

^ percunctaretxir M. 

^ Imbertus M. 

* raptim in /. Gronovius : rapidum M. 

^ p]prius had laid information against Thrasea and gained 
5,000,000 sesterces thereby. A7in. xvi. 22, 28, 33 and cf. BisL 
iv. 6. 

' Bologna. 

' Diplomata that secured post-horses, lodging, etc. 

246 



BOOK II. LIH.-LIV. 

LI 1 1. There was a remarkable quarrel when 
Licinius Caecina attacked Marcelkis Eprius for 
making ambiguous proposals. Yet the other 
senators did not disclose their opinions ; but the 
name of Marcellus was hateful and exposed to 
odium, because men remembered that he had been 
an informer ^ ; it consequently roused in Caecina, 
who was a new man, recently enrolled in the senate, 
a desire to win fame by making enemies of the 
great. The two were separated, however, by the 
moderate and wiser senators. They all returned to 
Bononia ^ to take counsel together again there ; and 
they also hoped for fuller news in the meantime. 
At Bononia they posted men on the different roads 
to question every newcomer. One of Otho's freed- 
men who was asked why he had left, replied that he 
had Otho's last commands. He also said that Otho 
was still alive when he left, but that his sole anxiety 
was for posterity and that he had rejected all the 
allurements of life. This answer filled the senators 
with admiration and made them ashamed to question 
further; and then the hearts of all inclined toward 
Vitellius 

LIV. His brother Lucius V^itellius was now 
sharing their councils and was already offering 
himself as an object of their flattery, when suddenly 
Coenus, one of Nero's freedmen, by a bold falsehood 
succeeded in terrifying them all. He declared that 
by the arrival of the Fourteenth legion and by its 
union with the forces from Brixellum, the victors 
had been crushed and the fortune of the two parties 
reversed. He had invented this tale to secure by 
such good news a renewed validity for Otho's pass- 
ports^ which were being disregarded. Now Coenus 

247 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

vectus paucos post dies iussu Vitellii poenas luit : 
senatorum periculum auctum credentibus Othonianis 
militibus vera esse quae adferebantur. Intendebat 
formidinem quod publici consilii facie discessutn 
Mutina desertaeque partes forent. Nee ultra in 
commune congressi sibi quisque consuluere, donee 
missae a Fabio Valente epistulae demerent metum. 
Et mors Othonis quo laudabilior eo velocius audita. 

LV. At Romae nihil trepidationis ; Ceriales ludi 
ex more spectabantur. Ut cessisse Othonem et a 
Flavio Sabino praefecto urbis quod erat in urbe 
militum sacramento V^itellii adactum certi auctores 
in theatrum attulerunt, Vitellio plausere ; po})ulus 
cum lauru ac floribus Galbae imagines circum templa 
tulitj congestis in modum tumuli coronis iuxta lacum 
Curtii, quem locum Galba moriens sanguine infecerat. 
In senatu cuncta longis aliorum principatibus com- 
posita statim decernuntur ; additae erga Gei'manicum 
exercitum ^ laudes gratesque et missa legatio quae 
gaudio fungeretur. Recitatae Fabii Valentis epistu- 
lae ad consules scriptae baud immoderate : gratior 
Caecinae modestia fuit quod non scripsisset. 

LVI. Ceterum Italia gravius atque atrocius quam 
bello adflictabatur. Dispersi per municipia et colonias 

^ exercitum Ritter : exercitus M. 

1 April 12-19. 

* Vespasian's brother. 
' Cf. i. 41. 

* Only the highest officials were expected to address the 
consuls or the senate. 

248 



BOOK II. Liv.-Lvi. 

hurried to Rome, where a few days later, at the 
orders of VitelHus, he paid the penalty due ; the 
senators, however, were in still greater danger, for 
Otho's soldiers believed that the story was the truth. 
Their alarm was increased also by the fact that their 
departure from Mutina and their abandonment of 
Otho's cause had the appearance of a formal and 
public act. They no longer met together, but each 
took thought for his own safety until letters from 
Fabius Valens did away with their fears. Moreover 
the laudable character of Otho's death made the 
news of it spread all the quicker. 

LV. Yet at Rome there was no disorder. The 
festival of Ceres ^ was celebrated in the usual manner. 
When it was announced in the theatre on good 
authority that Otho was no more and that Flavius 
Sabinus,^ the city prefect, had administered to all 
the soldiers in the city the oath of allegiance to 
Vitellius, the audience greeted the name of Vitel- 
lius with applause. The people, bearing laurel and 
flowers, carried busts of Galba from temple to temple, 
and piled garlands high in the form of a burial 
mound by the Lacus Curtius,^ which the dying Galba 
had stained with his blood. The senate at once 
voted for Vitellius all the honours that had been 
devised during the long reigns of other emperors ; 
besides they passed votes of praise and gratitude to 
the troops from Germany and dispatched a delega- 
tion to deliver this expression of their joy. Letters 
from Fabius Valens to the consuls were read, written 
in quite moderate style ; but greater satisfaction 
was felt at Caecina's modesty in not writing at all.* 

LVI. But the distress of Italy was now heavier and 
more terrible than that inflicted by war. The troops 

249 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Vitelliani spoliare, rapere, vi et stupris polluere : in 
omne fas ^ nefasque avidi aut venales non sacro, non 
profano abstinebant. Et fuere qui inimicos suos 
specie railitum interficerent ; ipsique milites regionum 
gnari refertos agros^ ditis dominos in praedam aut, 
si repugnatuni foret, ad exitium destinabant, ob- 
noxiis ducibus et prohibere non ausis. Minus 
avaritiae in Caecina, plus ambitionis : Valens ob 
lucra et quaestus infaniis eoque alienae etiam culpae 
dissimulator. lam pridem attritis Italiae rebus 
tantum peditum equitumque, vis damnaque et 
iniuriae aegre tolerabantur. 

LVII. Interim Vitellius victoriae suae nescius ut 
ad integrum bellum reliquas Germanici exercitus 
viris trahebat. Pauci veterum militum in hibemis 
relicti, festinatis per Gallias dilectibus, ut remanen- 
tium legionum nomina supplerentur. Cura ripae 
Hordeonio Flacco permissa ; ipse e Britannico 
exercitu ^ delecta octo milia sibi adiunxit. Et pau- 
corum dierum iter progressus prosperas apud Bedri- 
acum res ac morte Othonis concidisse bellum accepit : 
vocata contione virtutem militum laudibus eumulat. 
Postulante exercitu ut libertum suum Asiaticum 

^ omnelas M. ^ exercitu add. Heraeus. 

250 



BOOK II. Lvi.-Lvii. 

of VitelliuSj scattering among the municipalities and 
colonies, indulged in every kind of robbery, theft, 
violence and debauchery. Their greed and venality 
knew no distinction between right and wrong ; 
they respected nothing, whether sacred or profane. 
There were cases too where, under the disguise of 
soldiers, men murdered their })ersonal enemies ; and 
the soldiers in their turn, being acquainted with the 
country, marked out the best-stocked farms and the 
richest owners for booty or destruction, in case any 
resistance was made. The generals were subject to 
their troops and did not dare to forbid them. 
Caecina was less avaricious, but more eager for 
popularity ; V^alens, notorious for his greed and 
sordid gains, was more inclined to overlook the 
crimes of others. Italy, whose wealth had long 
before been exhausted, now found all these troops, 
foot and horse, all this violence, loss, and suffering, 
an intolerable burden. 

LVTI. In the meantime, \ itellius, quite ignorant of 
his success, was bringing with him all the remaining 
forces from Germany, as if he had to face a war 
whose issue was undecided. He had left only a few 
veterans in the winter quarters and was now hurrying 
forward levies in the Gallic provinces to fill up the 
empty ranks of the legions that were left behind. 
The duty of guarding the Rhine he assigned to 
Hordeonius Flaccus. He supplemented his own 
forces with eight thousand men picked from the army 
in Britain. After he had advanced a few days, he 
heard of the success at Bedriacum and learned that 
at Otho's death the war had collapsed ; then he 
assembled his troops and spoke in the highest praise 
of his brave army. When his soldiers demanded that 

251 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

equestri dignitate donaret, inhonestam adulationem 
conpescit ; deiii mobilitate ingenii, quod palam 
abnueratj inter secreta convivii largitur, honoravitque 
Asiaticum anulis^ foedum mancipium et malis artibus 
ambitiosum. 

LVIII. Isdem diebus accessisse partibus utramque 
Mauretaniain, interfecto procuratore Albino, nuntii 
venere. Lucceius Albinus a Nerone Mauretaniae 
Caesariensi praepositus, addita per Galbam Tingi- 
tanae provinciae administratione, hand spernendis 
viribus agebat. Ueceni novem cohortes, quinque 
alae, ingens Maurorum numerus aderat, per latrocinia 
et raptus apta bello manus. Caeso Galba in Othonem 
pronus nee Africa contentus Hispaniae angusto freto 
diremptae imminebat. Inde Cluvio Rufo metus, et 
decimam legionem propinquare litori ut transmis- 
surus iussit ; praemissi centuriones qui Maurorum 
animos Vitellio conciliarent. Neque arduum fuit, 
magna per provincias Germanici exercitus fama ; 
spargebatur insuper spreto procuratoris vocabulo 
Albinum insigne regis et lubae nomen usurpare. 

LIX, Ita mutatis animis Asinius Pollio alae prae- 
fectus, e fidissimis^ Albino, et Festus ac Scipio 

^ et fidissimis M. 



^ Cf. ii. 95, and iv. 11. 

^ The province of Mauretania Caesariensis corresponded 
roughlj' to the western half of Algeria and eastern Morocco 
Mauretania Tingitana to western Morocco. 

252 



BOOK II. LVII.-LIX. 

he give his freedman Asiaticus the rank of knight, he 
checked this shameful adulation ; but later, prompted 
by his fickle nature, in the privacy of a dinner he 
granted that which he had refused in public, and 
honoured with the golden ring this Asiaticus, a servile, 
shameful creature, who owed his popularity to his 
wicked arts.^ 

LVIII. During these days word arrived that both 
Mauretanias ^ had come over to the side of Vitellius 
after the imperial governor Albinus had been killed. 
Lucceius Albinus, who had been aj)pointed governor 
of Mauretania Caesariensis by Nero, had been 
charged by Galba with the administration of the 
province of Tingitana as well, and had forces at his 
command which were not to be despised. Nineteen 
cohorts of infantry, five squadrons of cavalry were at 
liis disposal as well as a great number of Mauri, form- 
ing a band which robbery and brigandage had trained 
for war. After the assassination of Galba, Albinus had 
favoured Otho, and not satisfied with Africa, began 
preparations to threaten Spain, which is separated 
from Africa by only a narrow strait. This action 
frightened Cluvius Rufus, and he ordered the Tenth 
legion to advance towards the coast as if he planned 
to transport it across ; and he dispatched centurions 
ahead to win the Mauri to the cause of Vitellius. This 
was not hard, for the army from Germany enjoyed a 
great reputation in the provinces ; besides, gossip 
spread the report that Albinus, despising the name 
of imperial governor, was adopting the insignia of 
royalty and the name of Juba. 

LIX. The sentiments of the Mauretanians were 
changed, and this reversal of feeling led to the assassi- 
nation of the prefect of the cavalry, Asinius Pollio, 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

cohortium praefecti opprimuntur : ipse Albinus dum 
e Tingitana pi'ovincia Caesariensem Mauretaniam 
petit/ adpulsu litoris trucidatus ; uxor eius cum se 
percussoribus obtulisset, simul inteifecta est, nihil 
eorum quae fierent Vitellio anquirente : brevi auditu 
quamvis ^ magna transibat, impar curis gravioribus. 

Exercitum itinere terrestri pergere iubet : ipse 
Arare flumine devehitur, nuUo principali paratu, sed 
vetere egestate conspicuus, donee lunius Blaesus 
Lugudunensis Galliae rector, genere inkistri, largus 
animo et par opibus, circumdaret principi ministeria, 
comitaretur liberaliter, eo ipso ingratus, quamvis 
odium Vitellius vernilibus blanditiis velaret. Praesto 
fuere Luguduni victriciuni victarumque partium 
duces, \alentem et Caeclnam pro contione laudatos 
curuli suae circumposuit. Mox universum exercitum 
occurrere infanti filio iubet, perlatumque et paluda- 
mento opertum sinu retinens Gei'manicum appellavit 
cinxitque cunctis fortunae principalis insignibus. 
Nimiushonos inter secunda rebus adversis in solacium 
cessit. 

LX. Tum interfecti sunt ^ centuriones promptissimi 
Othonianorum, unde praecipua in Vitellium alienatio 
per Illyricos exercitus ; simul ceterae legiones con- 

^ petiti J/: petit, iu Halm. 

- breve auditu vi quamvis M. 

' interfecti sunt Ritter : interfectis M. 



^ Now six years of age. 



254 



BOOK II. Lix.-Lx. 

one of the most devoted friends of All^nus, and 
of the commanders of the cohorts, Festus and Scipio. 
Albinus, who was trying to reach Mauretania 
Caesariensis by sea from Tingitana, was killed as 
he disembarked ; his wife offered herself to the 
assassins and was slain with l»im. Vitellius made 
no investigation of all these acts ; however important 
matters were, he dismissed them after a brief 
hearing ; he was quite unequal to serious business. 

His army he ordered to advance by land ; but he 
himself sailed down the Arar, distinguished by no 
imperial show, but rather by the same poverty that 
he had displayed of old ; until finally Junius Blaesus, 
governor of Gallia Lugudunensis — a man of illustrious 
family, whose wealth matched his liberal spirit, — sur- 
rounded him with all the service that an emperor 
should have and gave him generous escort, earning 
dislike by that very act, although the emperor con- 
cealed his hatred under servile flattery. At Lugudu- 
num the generals of both sides, the victors and the 
defeated, awaited him. Vitellius spoke in praise 
of Valens and Caecina in public assembly and placed 
them on either side of his own curule chair. Then 
he ordered the entire army to parade before his 
infant son,^ whom he brought out and, wrapping 
him in a general's cloak, held in his arms ; he called 
him Germanicus, and surrounded him with all the 
attributes of imperial rank. These excessive honours 
in prosperity presently became a solace in misfortune. 

LX. Then the centurions who had been most 
active in supporting Otho were put to death, an 
action which more than anything else turned the 
forces in Illyricum against Vitellius ; at the same 
time the contagion spread to the rest of the legions, 

255 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

tactu et adversus Germanicos milites invidia bellum 
meditabantur. Suetonium Paulinum ac Licinium 
Proculum tristi mora squalidos tenuit, donee auditi 
necessariis magis defensionibus quam honestis uteren- 
tur. Proditionem ultro imputabant, spatium longi 
ante proelium itineris, fatigationem Othonianorum, 
permixtum vehiculis agmen ac pleraque fortuita fraudi 
suae adsignanles. Et Vitellius credidit de perfidia 
et fidem absolvit. Salvias Titianus Othonis frater 
nullum discrimen adiit, pietate et ignavia excusatus. 
Mario Celso consulatus servatur : sed creditum fama 
obiectumque mox in senatu Caecilio Simplici, quod 
cum honorem ^ pecunia mercari, nee sine exitio Celsi, 
voluisset : restitit Vitellius deditque postea consula- 
tum Simplici innoxium et inemptum. Trachalum 
adversus criminantis Galeria uxor Vitellii protexit. 

LXI. Inter magnorum virorum discrimina, puden- 
dum dictu, Mariccus quidam, e plebe Boiorum, 
inserere sese fortunae et provocare arma Romana 
simulatione numinum ausus est. lamque adsertor 
Galliarum et deus (nam id sibi indiderat) concitis 
octo milibus hominum proximos Aeduorum pagos 

^ ciini honore M. 



^ Cf. i. 77. 2 cf. i. 90. 

^ The Boii lived between the Loire and the AUier. 



256 



BOOK II. LX.-LXI. 

who were jealous of the forces from Germany, and 
they began to think of war. Suetonius Paulinus 
and Licinius Proculus were kept in anxiety and 
distress by a long delay, until at last, when admitted 
to audience, they resorted to a defence which 
necessity rather than honour dictated : they actually 
charged themselves with treachery towards Otho, 
declaring that their own bad faith was responsible 
for the long march before the battle, for the 
exhaustion of his forces, for the baggage train 
becoming involved with the marching troops and 
the resulting confusion, and finally for many tilings 
which were due to mere chance. Mtelliiis believed 
in their treachery and acquitted them of the crime 
of loyalty towards Otho. Salvius Titianus, Otho's 
brother, was in no danger, being forgiven because 
of his duty towards his brother and his own in- 
capacity. Marius Celsus did not lose his consul- 
ship,^ But gossip, which was widely believed, gave 
rise to the charge made later in the senate against 
Caecilius Simplex to the effect that he had wished 
to purchase the consulshij), even at the cost of the 
life of Celsus. Vitellius opposed this rumour and 
later gave Simplex a consulship which cost neither 
crime nor money. Trachalus was protected against 
his accusers by Galeria, the wife of Vitellius.^ 

LXI. While men of high distinction were thus 
endangered, it raises a blush to record how a certain 
Mariccus, a common Boian,^ dared to take a hand 
in Fortune's game, and, pretending the authority 
of heaven, to challenge the Roman arms. And this 
Hberator of the Gallic provinces, this god — for he 
had given himself that honour — after collecting 
eight thousand men, was already plundering the 

257 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

trahebat, cum gravissima civitas electa iuventute, 
adiectis a Vitellio cohortibus, fanaticam multitudinem 
disiecit. Captus in eo proelio Mariccus ; ac mox 
feris obiectus quia non laniabatur, stolidum vulgus 
inviolabilem credebat, donee spectante Vitellio 
interfectus est. 

LXII. Nee ultra in defectores aut bona cuiusquam 
saevitum : rata fuere eorum qui acie Othoniana 
ceciderant, testamenta aut lex intestatis : prorsus, si 
luxuriae temperaret^ avaritiam non timeres. Epula- 
rum foeda et inexplebilis libido : ex urbe atque 
Italia inritamenta gulae gestabantur, strepentibus ab 
utroque mari itineribus ; exhausti conviviorum appara- 
tibus principes civitatum ; vastabantur ipsae civitates ; 
degenerabat a labore ac virtute miles adsuetudine 
voluptatum et contemptu ducis. Praemisit in urbem 
edictum quo vocabulum Augusti differret, Caesaris 
non reciperet, cum de potestate nihil detraheret. 
Pulsi Italia mathematici ; cautum severe ne equites 
Romani ludo et harena polluerentur. Priores id 
principes pecunia et saepius vi perpulerant, ac 

^ The capital was Augustodunum (Autun). 
« Cf. i. 22. 

=^58 



BOOK 11. LXI.-LXII. 

Aeduan cantons nearest him, when that most 
important state,^ with the best of its youth and 
the cohorts which VitelHus gave, dispersed the 
fanatic crowd. Mariccus was taken prisoner in the 
battle. Later, when he was exposed to the beasts 
and the animals did not rend him, the stupid rabble 
believed him inviolable, until he was executed before 
the eyes of VitelHus. 

LXII. No other severe measures were taken 
against the rebels ; there were no further confisca- 
tions. The wills of those who fell in Otho's ranks 
were allowed to stand, and if tiie soldiers died 
intestate, the law took its regular course. In fact, 
if VitelHus had only moderated his luxurious mode 
of life, there would have been no occasion to fear 
his avarice. But his passion for elaborate banquets 
was shameful and insatiate. Dainties to tempt his 
palate were constantly brought from Rome and all 
Italy, while the roads from both the Adriatic and 
Tyrrhenian seas hummed with hurrying vehicles. 
The preparation of banquets for him ruined the 
leading citizens of the communities through which 
he passed ; the communities themselves were devas- 
tated ; and his soldiers lost their energy and their 
valour as they became accustomed to pleasure and 
learned to despise their leader. VitelHus sent a 
proclamation to Rome in advance of liis arrival, 
deferring the title Angustus and declining the name 
Caesar, although he rejected none of an emperor's 
powers. The astrologers ^ were banished from Italy ; 
strict measures were taken to prevent Roman 
knights from degrading themselves in gladiatorial 
schools and the arena. Former emperors had driven 
knights to such actions by money or more often by 

259 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

pleraque municipia et coloniae aemulabantur cor- 
ruptissimum quemque adulescentium pretio inlicere. 

LXIII. Sed Vitellius adventu fratris et inrepenti- 
bus dominationis magistris superbior et atrocior 
occidi Dolabellam iussit^ quern in coloniam Aquina- 
tem sepositum ab Othone rettulimus. Dolabella 
audita morte Othonis urbem introierat : id ei Plancius 
Varus praetura functus, ex intimis Dolabellae amicis, 
apud Flavium Sabinum praefectum urbis obiecit, 
tamquam rupta custodia ducem se victis partibus 
ostentasset ; addidit teinptatam cohortem quae 
Ostiae ageret ; nee ullis tantorum criminum pro- 
bationibus in paenitentiam versus seram veniam post 
scelus quaerebat. Cunctantem super tanta^ re 
Flavium Sabinum Triaria L. Vitellii uxor, ultra 
feminam ferox, terruit ne ^ periculo principis famam 
dementia adfectaret. Sabinus suopte ingenio mitis, 
ubi formido incessisset, facilis mutatu et in alieno 
discrimine sibi pavens, ne adlevasse videretur, 
impulit ruentem. 

LXIV. Igitur Vitellius metu et odio quod Petron- 
iam uxorem eius mox Dolabella in matrimonium 
accepisset, vocatum per epistulas vitata Flaminiae 

^ supertentare M, * e M. 

1 i. 88. 2 Cf. i. 80. 

260 



BOOK II. Lxii.-Lxiv. 

force ; and most municipal towns and colonies were 
in the habit of rivalling the emperors in bribing the 
worst of their young men to take up these disgraceful 
pursuits. 

LXIII. But Vitellius was moved to greater arro- 
gance and cruelty by the arrival of his brother and 
by the cunning approaches of his teachers in the 
imperial art ; he ordered the execution of Dolabella, 
whose banishment by Otho to the colony of Aquinum 
we have previously related.^ Dolabella, on hearing 
of Otho's death, had entered Rome. For this he 
was accused before the city-prefect, Flavius Sabinus, 
by Plancius Varus, an ex-praetor, one of Dolabella's 
most intimate friends. To the charge of escaping 
from custody and offering himself as leader to the 
defeated party Varus added that Dolabella had 
tampered with the cohort stationed at Ostia,^ but 
being unable to present any proofs for his grave 
charges, he repented of his action and sought pardon 
for his friend — too late, for the outrage had been 
done. While Flavius Sabinus was hesitating — for 
the matter was serious — Triaria, the wife of Lucius 
Vitellius, violent beyond her sex, frightened Sabinus 
from any attempt to secure a reputation for clemency 
at the expense of the emperor. Sabinus was by 
nature gentle, but ready to change his decision 
when alarmed, and now being afraid for himself 
when the danger was another's, and wishing to 
avoid seeming to have helped him, he precipitated 
Dolabella's fall. 

LXIV. So Vitellius, who not only feared but also 
hated Dolabella, because Dolabella had married his 
former wife, Petronia, summoned him by letter, 
directing him to avoid the crowded Flaminian Road 

261 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

viae celebritate devertere Interamnium atque ibi 
interfici iussit. Longiim interfectori visum : in 
itinere ac taberna proiectum humi iugulavit, magna 
cum invidia novi principatus, cuius hoc primum 
specimen noscebatur. Et Triariae licentiam modes- 
tum e proximo exemplum onerabat, Galeria impera- 
toris uxor non immixta ^ tristibus ; et pari probitate 
mater Vitelliorum Sextilia, antiqui moris : dixisse 
quin etiam ad primas filii sui epistulas ferebatur, non 
Germanicum a se sed Vitellium genitum. Nee ullis 
postea fortunae inlecebris aut ambitu civitatis in 
gaudium evicta domus suae tantum adversa sensit. 

LXV. Digressum a Luguduno Vitellium Cluvius 
Rufus adsequitur omissa Hispania, laetitiam et gratu- 
lationem vultu ferens^ animo anxius et petitum se 
criminationibus gnarus. Hilarus Caesaris libertus 
detulerat tamquam audito Vitellii et Otlionis princi- 
patu propriam ipse potentiam et possessionem His- 
paniarum temptassetj eoque diplomatibus nullum 
principem praescripsisset ; et ^ interpretabatur quae- 
dam ex orationibus^ eius contumeliosa in Vitellium et 
pro se ipso popularia. Auctoritas Cluvii praevaluit ut 
puniri ultro libertum suum Vitellius iuberet. Cluvius 

^ inmixta /. F. Gronovius : Inniix M. 

^ et add. Ernest i. 

^ ex orationibus Rhenanus : exortationibus ^f. 



1 Tenii. ^ Cf chap. 58 above. 



262 



BOOK II. Lxiv.-Lxv. 

and go to Iiiteramniuni/ where he ordered that 
he should be killed. The executioner thought the 
journey too long ; at a tavern on the way he struck 
Dolabella to the ground and cut his throat, to the 
great discredit of the new principate, of whose 
character this was regarded as the first indication. 
The bold nature of Triaria was made odious by com- 
parison with an example of modesty within her own 
family, for the Emperor's wife Galeria never took a 
hand in such horrors, while Sextilla, the mother of 
the two Vitellii, showed herself a woman of the 
same high character, an example of ancient ways. 
Indeed it was said that when she received the first 
letter from her son, she declared that she had borne 
a Vitellius, not a Germanicus. And never later was 
she moved to joy by the allurements of fortune or 
by popular favour : it was only the misfortunes of 
her house that she felt. 

LXV. After \^itellius left Lugdunum,he was over- 
taken by Cluvius Rufus, who had left Spain.- Rufus 
had an air of joy and congratulation, but in his heart 
he was anxious, for he knew' that charges had been 
laid against him. Hilarus, one of the imperial 
freedmen, had denounced him, claiming that when 
Rufus had heard of the elevation of Vitellius and of 
Otho, he had made an attempt to gain power and 
possession of the Spanish provinces for himself, and 
for that reason had not prefixed the name of any 
emperor to his public documents ; moreover, Hilarus 
interpreted some parts of his public speeches as 
derogatory to Vitellius and calculated to win popu- 
larity for himself. The influence of Cluvius was 
strong enough to move Vitellius so far as to order 
the punishment of his own freedman. Cluvius was 

263 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

comitatui principis adiectus^ non adempta Hispania, 
quam rexit absens exemplo L. Arrunti. Sed Arrun- 
tium ^ Tiberius Caesar ob metum, Vitellius Cluvium 
nulla formidine retinebat. Non idem Trebellio 
Maximo hones : profugerat Britannia ob iracundiam 
militum ; missus est in locum eius Vettius Bolanus e 
praesentibus. 

LXVI. Angebat Vitellium victarum legionum 
haudquaquam fractus animus. Sparsae per Italiam 
et victoribus permixtae hostilia loquebantur, prae- 
cipua quartadecimanorum ferocia^ qui se victos ab- 
nuebant : quippe Bedriacensi acie vexillariis tantum 
pulsis viris legionis non adfuisse. Remitti eos in 
Britanniam, unde a Nerone exciti erant, placuit 
atque interim Batavorum cohortis una tendere ob 
veterem adversus quartadecimanos discordiam. Nee 
diu in tantis armatorum odiis quies fuit : Augustae 
Taurinorum, dum opifieem quendam Batavus ut 
fraudatorem insectatuv, legionarius ut hospitem 
tuetur, sui cuique commilitones adgregati a conviciis 
ad caedem transiere. Et proelium atrox arsisset, ni 
duae praetoriae cohortes causam quartadecimanorum 
secutae his fiduciam et metum Batavis fecissent : 

^ Arrunti sed Arruutiura Haase : arruntium M. 

1 Cf. Jn7i. vi. 27. * Cf. i. 60. 

264 



BOOK II. Lxv.-i.xvi. 

added to the emperor's train but not deprived of 
Jiis province of Spain ; he continued to govern it 
from a distance, after the precedent of Lucius 
Arruntius. But the emperor Tiberius had kept 
Arruntius with him because he was afraid of him ; ^ 
Vitellius had no fear of Cluvius. Trebellius Maxi- 
mus did not receive the same honour.^ He had 
fled from Britain to escape the resentment of his 
army ; Vettius Bolanus, one of the suite of ViteUius, 
was sent out in his place. 

LXVI. Vitellius found cause for anxiety in the 
spirit of the defeated legions, which was by no means 
conquered. Scattered about Italy and mingling 
with the victorious troops, their talk was constantly 
hostile ; the soldiers of the Fourteenth legion were 
particularly bold, declaring that they never had 
been defeated, for in the battle at Bedriacum it was 
only some veterans who had been beaten ; the 
strength of the legion had not been there at all. 
Vitellius decided to send them back to Britain, from 
which Nero had withdrawn them, and in ti)e mean- 
time to have the Batavian cohorts camp with them, 
because the Batavians had had a difference of long 
standing with the Fourteenth. Peace did not last 
long among armed men who hated one another so 
violently. At Turin a Batavian charged a workman 
with being a thief, while a legionary defended the 
workman as his host; thereupon their fellow-soldiers 
rallied to the support of each and matters soon 
passed from words to blows. In fact there would 
have been a bloody battle if two Praetorian cohorts 
had not taken the side of the soldiers of the Four- 
teenth and inspired them with courage while they 
frightened the Batavians. Vitellius directed that 

265 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

quos Vitellius agmini suo iuiigi ut fidos, legionem 
Gi-ais Alpibus traductam eo flexu itineris ire iubet 
quo Viennam vitarent ; namque et Viennenses time- 
bantur. Nocte, qua proficiscebatur legio, relictis 
passim ignibus pars Taurinae coloniae ambusta, quod 
damnum, ut pleraque belli mala, maioribus aliarum 
urbium cladibus oblitteratum, Quartadecimani post- 
quam Alpibus degressi ^ sunt, seditiosissimus quisque 
signa Viennam ferebant : consensu mellorum con- 
pressi et legio in Britanniam transvecta. 

LXVII. Proximus Vitellio e praetoriis coliortibus 
metus erat. Separati primum, deinde addito 
honestae missionis lenimento, arma ad tribunes suos 
deferebant, donee motum a Vespasiano bellum 
crebresceret : turn resumpta militia robur Flavia- 
narum partium fuere. Prima classicorum legio in 
Hispaniam missa ut pace et otio mitesceret, unde- 
cima ac septima suis hibernis redditae, tertiadecimani 
struere amphitheatra iussi ; nam Caecina Cremonae, 
Valens Bononiae spectaculum gladiatorum edere 
parabaijt, numquam ita ad curas intento Vitellio ut 
voluptatum oblivisceretur. 

LXVIII. Et victas ^ quidem partis modeste dis- 
traxerat: apud victores orta seditio, ludicro initio ni^ 

^ degressi Pichena : digressi M. 
^ victas add. Haase. 
' ni add. Agricola. 

1 The Little St. Bernard. 

'^ Vienne. 

' Normally the praetorians received 5000 (lenarii (about 
$900) with their discharge after completing sixteen j'ears of 
service. Cf. Dio Cass. Iv. 23. 

* To Dalmatia and Pannonia respectively. 

266 



BOOK II. 1.XVI.-LXVIII. 

the Batavians, as being trustworthy, should join 
his train, while the Fourteenth was to be conducted 
over the Graian Alps^ by a circuitous route to avoid 
Vienna,^ for the people of Vienna also gave him 
alarm. On the night in which the legion set out, 
the soldiers left fires burning everywhere, and a part 
of the colony of the Taurini was consumed ; but this 
loss, like most of the misfortunes of war, was obscured 
by the greater disasters that befell other cities. After 
the Fourteenth had descended the Alps, the most 
mutinous were for advancing on Vienna, but 
they were restrained by the common action of 
the better soldiers, and the legion was got over to 
Britain. 

LXVII. The next alarm of Vitellius arose from 
the praetorian cohorts. At first they had been kept 
apart; later the offer of an honourable discharge 
was employed to soothe their feelings,^ and they 
started to turn their arms over to their tribunes, 
until the report that Vespasian had begun war 
became common ; then they resumed their service 
and formed the backbone of the Flavian party. The 
First legion of marines was sent to Spain to have 
their savage temper softened by peace and quiet ; 
the Eleventh and Seventh legions ^ were sent back 
to winter quarters, while the members of the 
Thirteenth were ordered to build amphitheatres, 
for Caecina was preparing to exhibit gladiators at 
Cremona, Valens at Bononia. Vitellius was never 
so absorbed in serious business that he forgot his 
pleasures. 

LXVIII. The conquered party Vitellius had thus 
succeeded in scattering without an outbreak. But 
among the victors a mutiny broke out ; the mutiny 

267 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

numerus caesorum invidiam Vitellio^ auxisset. Dis- 
cubuerat Vitellius Ticini adhibito ad epulas Verginio. 
Legati tribunique ex moribus imperatorumseveritatem 
aemulantur vel tempestivis conviviisgaudent ; proinde 
miles intentus aut licenter agit. Apud Vitellium 
omnia indisposita, temulenta, pervigiliis ac bacchana- 
libus quam disciplinae et castris propiora. Igitur 
duobus militibus, altero legionis quintae, altero e 
Gallis auxiliaribus, per lasciviam ad certamenluctandi 
accensis, postquam legionarius prociderat, insultante 
Gallo et iis qui ad spectandum convenerant in studia 
diductis^ erupere legionarii in perniciem auxiliorum 
ac duae cohortes interfectae. Ilemedium tumultus 
fuit alius tumultus. Pulvis procul et arma aspicie- 
bantur : conclamatum repente quartam decimam 
legionem verso itinera ad proelium venire ; sed erant 
agminis coactores : agniti dempsere sollicitudinem. 
Interim Verginii servus forte obvius ut percussor 
Vitellii insimulatur : et ruebat ad convivium miles, 
mortem Verginii exposcens. Ne V^itellius quidem, 
quamquam ad omnis suspiciones j)avidus, de innocen- 
tia eius dubitavit: aegre tamen cohibiti qui exitium 
consularis et quondam ducis sui flagitabant. Nee 
quemquam saepius quam Verginium omnis seditio 

^ Vitellio Doderlcm : bello M. 

^ That is, in dinners that began unseasonably early that 
they might last the longer. 

268 



BOOK II. Lxviii. 

originated in sport ; only, the number of the slain 
aggravated the unpopularity of Vitellius. The 
emperor was dining at Ticinum, and Verginius was 
his guest. According to the character of their 
commanders, legati and tribuni either imitate their 
strictness or find pleasure in extravagant dinners ; ^ 
and in the same way the soldiers exhibit devotion or 
licence. In the army of Vitellius complete disorder 
and drunkenness prevailed — things which belong 
rather to night revels and bacchanalian routs than to 
the discipline appropriate to an armed camp. So it 
happened that two soldiers, one from the Fifth legion 
and the other a Gallic auxiliary, in sport challenged 
each other to a wrestling match. When the legionary 
was thrown and the Gaul began to mock him, the 
crowd of spectators that had gathered took sides and 
the legionaries suddenly started to kill the auxiliaries, 
and in fact two cohorts were wiped out. The remedy 
for this disturbance was a second riot. A cloud of 
dust and arms were seen in the distance. A general 
cry was at once raised that the Fourteenth legion 
was retracing its steps and coming to fight; but 
in fact it was the rear-guard, and when they were 
recognized the general panic ceased. In the mean- 
time the soldiers accused a slave of Verginius who 
happened to be passing with being an assassin of 
Vitellius ; they rushed to the dinner, demanding 
that Verginius be put to death. Even Vitellius, 
who was timid and ready to entertain any suspicion, 
had no doubt of his innocence. Still it was with 
difficulty that the troops were kept from insisting 
on the execution of this ex-consul who had once 
been their own general. In fact no man was 
endangered by every riot so often as Verginius. 

269 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

infestavit : manebat admiratio viri et fama, set 
oderant ut fastiditi. 

LXIX. Postero die Vitellius senatus legatione, 
quam ibi opperiri iusserat, audita transgressus in 
castra ultro pietateni militum conlaudavitj frementi- 
bus auxiliis tantum impunitatis atque adrogantiae 
legionariis accessisse. Batavorum coliortes, ne quid 
truculentius auderent/ in Germaniam remissae, 
principium interne simul externoque bello parantibus 
fatis. Reddita civitatibus Galloruni auxilia, ingens 
numerus et j)rima statim defectione inter inania belli 
adsumptus. Ceterum ut largitionibus adfectae iam ^ 
imperii opes sufficerent, amputari legionum auxilio- 
rumque numeros iubet vetitis supplementis ; et 
promiscae missiones offerebantur. Exitiabile id rei 
publicaCj ingratum militi, cui eadem niunia inter 
paucos periculaque ac labor erebrius redibant : et 
vires luxu corrunipebantur, contra veterem disci- 
plinam et instituta maiorum apud quos virtute quam 
pecunia res Romana melius stetit. 

LXX. Inde Vitellius Cremonam flexit et spectato 

* aiulireiit -1/. 

^ iam Agricola : tarn J/. 

* Vergiiiius had refused the imperial power. Cf. i. 8, 52 ; 
ii. 51. 

^ Referring to the revolt of Civilis described in Books 
IV and V. 

270 



BOOK II. Lxvm.-Lxx. 

Admiration for him and his reputation continued 
unimpaired ; but the troops hated him, for he had 
despised tlieir offer.^ 

LXIX. The next day VitelHus first received the 
delegation from the senate, which he had directed 
to wait for him here ; then he went to the camp and 
took occasion to praise the loyal devotion of the 
soldiers. This action made the auxiliaries complain 
that the legionaries were allowed to enjoy such 
impunity and to display such impudence. Then, to 
keep the Batavian cohorts from undertaking some 
bold deed of vengeance, he sent them back to 
Germany, for the Fates were already preparing the 
sources from which both civil and foreign war was 
to spring. '-^ The Gallic auxiliaries were dismissed to 
their homes. Their number was enormous, for at 
the very outbreak of the rebellion they had been 
taken into the army as part of the empty parade 
of war. Furthermore, that the resources of the 
empire, which had been impaired by donatives, 
might be sufficient for the needs of the state, 
Vitellius ordered that the legionary and auxiliary 
troops should be reduced and forbade further 
recruiting, besides offering discharges freely. This 
policy was destructive to the state and unpopular 
with the soldiers, for the same tasks were now 
distributed among fewer men, so that dangers and 
toil fell more often on the individual. Their 
strength also was corrupted by luxury in contrast 
to the ancient discipline and maxims of our fore- 
fathers, in whose day valour formed a better founda- 
tion for the Roman state than money. 

LXX. Vitellius next turned aside to Cremona, and 
after witnessing the exhibition of gladiators provided 

271 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

munere Caecinae insistere Bedriacensibus campis ac 
vestigia recentis victoriae lustrare oculis concupivit. 
foedum atque atrox spectaculum : intra quadragensi- 
mum pugnae diem lacera corpora, trunci artus, putres 
virorum equorumque formae, infecta tabo humus, 
protritis arboribus ac frugibus dira vastitas. Nee 
minus inhumana pars viae quam Cremonenses lauru 
rosaque constraverant, extructis altaribus caesisque 
victimis regium in morem ; quae laeta in praesens 
mox perniciem ipsis fecere. Aderant Valens et 
Caecina, monstrabantque pugnae locos : hinc inrupisse 
legionum agmen, hinc equites coortos, inde circum- 
fusas auxiliorum manus : iam tribuni praefectique, 
sua quisque facta extollentes, falsa vera aut maiora 
vero miscebant. Vulgus quoque militum clamore et 
gaudio deflectere via, spatia certaminum recogno- 
scere, aggerem armorum, strues corporum intueri 
mirari ; et ei'ant quos varia sors ^ rerum lacrimaeque 
et misericordia subiret. At non Vitellius flexit oculos 
nee tot milia insepultorum civium exhorruit : laetus 
ultro et tarn propinquae sortis ignarus instaurabat 
sacrum dis loci. 

LXXI. Exim Bononiae a Fabio Valente gladiato- 
rumspectaculum editur,advecto ex urbe cultu. Quan- 

^ fors M. 
272 



BOOK II. LXX.-LXXI. 

by Caecina, conceived a desire to tread the plains of 
Bedriacum and to see with his own eyes the traces 
of his recent victory. It was a revolting and ghastly 
sight : not forty days had passed since the battle, 
and on every side were mutilated corpses, severed 
limbs, rotting bodies of men and horses, the ground 
soaked with filth and gore, trees overthrown and 
crops trampled down in appalling devastation. No 
less barbarous was the sight presented by that part 
of the road which the people of Cremona strewed 
with laurel and roses, while they erected altars and 
slew victims as if they were greeting an eastern 
king; but their present joy was later the cause of 
their ruin. V^alens and Caecina attended Vitellius 
and explained the scene of the battle ; they showed 
that at this point the legions had rushed to the 
attack ; there the cavalry had charged ; and there 
the auxiliary forces had surrounded the foe. Tribunes 
too and prefects, each extolling his own deeds, 
mingled truth with falsehood or at least with 
exaggeration of the truth. The common soldiers 
also with shouts of joy turned from the road, recog- 
nized the stretches over which the battle had raged, 
and looked with wonder on the heaps of arms and the 
piles of bodies. Some among them were moved to 
tears and pity by the vicissitudes of fortune on which 
they gazed. But Vitellius never turned away his 
eyes or showed horror at the sight of so many 
citizens deprived of the rites of burial. Indeed he 
was filled with jov, and, ignorant of his own fate 
which was so near, he offered sacrifice to the local 
divinities. 

LXXI. Thereafter at Bononia Fabius Valens pre- 
sented his gladiatorial exhibition for which the equip- 

273 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

toque magis propinquabat, tanto corruptius iter 
itnmixtis histrionibus et spadonum gregibus et cetero 
Neronianae aulae ingenio ; namque et Neronem 
ipsum Vitellius admiratione celebrabat^ sectari can- 
tantem solitus, non necessitate, qua honestissimus 
quisque, sed luxu et saginae mancipatus emptusque. 
Ut Valenti et Caecinae vacuos honoris mensis aperiret, 
coartati aliorum consulatus, dissimulatus Marei Maori 
tamquam Otlionianarum partium ducis ; et Valerium 
Marinum destinatum a Galba consulem distulit, nulla 
ofFensa, sed mitein et iniuriam segniter laturum. 
Pedanius Costa omittitur, ingratus principi ut adver- 
sus Neronem ausus et Verginii extimulator, sed alias 
protulit causas ; actaeque insuper Vitellio gratiae 
consuetudine servitii. 

LXXII. Non ultra paucos dies quaniquam acribus 
initiis coeptum mendaeium valuit. Extiterat quidam 
Scribonianum se Camerinum ferens, Neronianorum 
temporuni metu in Histria occultatum, quod illic 
clientelae et agri veterum Crassorum ac noniinis 
favor manebat. Igitur deterrimo quoque in argu- 
mentum fabulae adsumpto vulgus credulum et qui- 
dam niilitum, errore veri seu turbarum studio, 



1 Cf. i. 77. 

^ Sciibonianus and his father had been murdered by 
Helios, Nero's slave, according to Die Cass. Ixiii. 18 Cf. 
Plin. Epist. I. 5. 3. The Scriboniani were a family of the 
Crassi. 

274 



BOOK II. LXXl.-LXXII. 

ment had been brought from Rome. As VitelHus 
drew nearer to the capital, his train exhibited 
the greater corruption ; actors, crowds of eunuchs, 
and every other kind of creature that belonged to 
Nero's court mixed with his soldiers. For V'itellius 
cherished great admiration for Nero himself, whom 
he had been in tlie habit of accompanying on his 
singing tours, not under compulsion, as so many 
honourable men were forced to do, but because he 
was the slave and chattel of luxury and gluttony. 
To secure free months in which to honour \^dens 
and Caeclna with consulships, he shortened the 
terms of others ^ and passed over Marcus Macer 
in silence as having been a leader of Otho's 
party. He put off the consulship of Valerius 
Marinus, who had been selected by Galba, not 
because of any offence, but because Marinus was of 
a mild nature and would put up with the injury. 
Pedanius Costa was omitted from the list ; he was 
unpopular with the emperor because he had dared 
to move against Nero and to urge Verginius to action, 
although other reasons were alleged. \^itellius 
received the usual thanks, for the habit of servility 
was well established. 

LXXIT. A deception, which had a lively success 
at first, prevailed for only a few days. A man 
appeared who gave himself out as Scribonianus 
Camerinus, alleging that he had remained concealed 
in Istria during Nero's reign, for there the ancient 
Crassi still possessed clients, lands, and popularity.- 
He accordingly associated with himself, to develop 
this comedy, a company made up of the dregs of 
mankind ; the credulous common people and some of 
the soldiers, either deceived by the falsehood or led 

275 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

certatim adgregabantur, cum pevtractus ad Vitellium 
interrogatusque quisnam mortalium esset. Postquam 
nulla dictis fides et a domino noscebatur condicione 
fugitivus, nomine Geta, sumptum de eo supplicium 
in servilem modum. 

LXXIII. Vix credibile memoratu est quantum 
superbiae socordiaeque Vitellio adoleverit, postquam 
speculatores e Syria ludaeaque adactum in verba eius 
Orientem nuntiavere. Nam etsi vagis adhuc et 
incertis auctoribus erat tamen in ore famaque Ves- 
pasianus ac plerumque ad nomen eius Vitellius ex- 
citabatur : tum ipse exercitusque, ut nullo aemulo, 
saevitia libidine raptu in externos mores proruperant. 

LXXIV. At Vespasianus bellum armaque et procul 
vel iuxta sitas viris circumspectabat. Miles ipsiadeo 
paratus utpraeeuntem sacramentum et fausta Vitellio 
omnia precantem per silentium audierint ; Muciani 
animus nee Vespasiano alienus et in Titum pronior ; 
praefectus Aegypti Ti.' Alexander consilia socia- 
verat ; tertiam legionem, quod e- Syria in Moesiam 
transisset, suam numerabat ; ceterae lUyrici legiones 
secuturae sperabantur ; namque omnis exercitus 
flammaverat adrogantia venientium a Vitellio mili- 
tum, quod truces corpore, horridi sermone ceteros 

^ Ti. add. Ursinus. 
* e Lipsius : de M. 

1 Cf. ii. 5. 
276 



BOOK II. Lxxii.-Lxxiv. 

on by a desire for trouble, were rapidly rallying 
about him, when he was dragged before Vitellius 
and questioned as to his identity. No faith was put 
in his answers ; and after he had been I'ecognized 
by his master as a runaway slave, Geta by name, he 
suffered the punishment usually inflicted on slaves. 

LXXIII. The degree to which the insolent pride of 
Vitellius increased after couriers arrived from Syria 
and Judea and reported that the East had sworn 
allegiance to him is almost past belief. For although 
the grounds for the gossip were as yet vague and 
uncertain, rumour had much to say of Vespasian, 
and his name frequently excited Vitellius. But now 
both emperor and army, believing that they had no 
rival, broke out into cruelty, lustjand rapine, equalling 
all the excesses of barbarians. 

LXXIV. As for Vespasian, he now began to reflect 
on the possibilities of war and armed combat and to 
review the strength of the forces near and far. His 
own soldiers were so ready that when he administered 
the oath and made vows for the success of Vitellius, 
they listened in complete silence. The sentiments 
of Mucianus were not hostile to him and itideed 
were favourable to Titus ^ ; Tiberius Alexander, the 
prefect of Egypt, had already cast his lot with his 
side ; he could count on the loyalty of the Third 
legion, which had been transferred ft-om Syria to 
Moesia ; and he had hopes that the legions in 
Illyricum would follow the Third. There was reason 
for this expectation, for all the eastern forces had 
been fired with rage over the arrogance of the 
soldiers of Vitellius who came to them, because 
though savage in appearance and barbarous in 
speech, they constantly mocked at all the others as 

277 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

ut imparls inridebant. Sed in tanta mole ^ belli 
plerumqiie cunetatio ; et \'espasianiis modo in spem 
erectus^ aliquando adversa reputabat : quis ille dies 
foret quo sexaginta aetatis annos et duos filios 
iuvenes bello permitteret ? Esse privatis cogita- 
tionibus progressum et, prout velint, plus niinusve 
sumi ex fortuna : iniperium cupientibus nihil medium 
inter summa aut praecij)itia. 

LXXV. Versabatur ante oculosGermanici exercitus 
robur, notum viro militari : suas legiones civili bello 
inexpertas, Vitellii victrices, et apud victos plus 
querimoniarum quam virium. Fluxam per discordias 
militum fidem et perieulum ex singulis : quid enim 
profuturas cohortis alasque, si unus alterve praesenti 
facinore paratum ex diverso praemium petat ? Sic 
Scribonianum sub Claudio interfectum, sic percus- 
sorem eius Vobiginium e gregario ad summa militiae 
provectum : facilius universes impelli quam singulos 
vitari. 

LXXVI. His pavoribus nutantem et alii legati 
amicique firmabant et Mucianus, post multos secre- 
tosque sermones iam et coram ita locutus : " Omnes, 
qui magnarum rerum consilia suscipiunt, aestimare 
debent an quod inchoatur rei publicae utile, ipsis 

^ scd iniant amole M. 

' Cf. i. 89. 
278 



BOOK II. LXXIV.-LXXVI. 

their inferiors. But a war of such scope can never 
be undertaken without liesitation ; and Vespasian, 
at one moment inspired with hope, would at times 
})onder over the obstacles — what could that day be on 
which he should entrust his sixty years and his two 
young sons to the fortune of war .-' He reflected 
that private plans allow one to advance or retreat 
and permit the individual to take that measure of 
Fortune's gifts that he will ; but when a man aims 
at the imperial power, there is no mean between 
the heights and the abyss. 

LXXV. He pictured to himself the strength of 
the army from Germany, which as a soldier he well 
understood. He realized that his own legions were 
untried in civil war, that the troops of V'itellius knew 
the joy of victory, and that there was more dis- 
content than strength in the ranks of the defeated. 
In time of discord the fidelity of an army is uncertain 
and danger may come from individuals. " For what 
will cohorts and squadrons avail me," he asked him- 
self, " if some one or two assassins go red-handed to 
demand the i-eward which my opjionents will always 
be ready to pay ? Thus Scribonianus was killed 
under Claudius ; ^ thus his assassin V^olaginius won 
advancement from the lowest to the highest rank. 
It is easier to move whole armies than to avoid 
individuals." 

LXXVI. While he was hesitating, moved by such 
fears as these, his mind was confirmed by his officers 
and friends and especially by Mucianus, who first 
had long private conversations with him and then 
spoke openly before the rest : " All who are debating 
high emprises ought to consider whether their 
purpose is useful to the state, glorious for them- 

279 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

gloriosum, promptum^ effectu aut certe non^ arduum 
sit ; simul ipse qui suadet considerandus est, ad- 
iciatne consilio periculum suum, et, si fortuna coeptis 
adfueritj cui summum decus adquiratur. Ego te, 
Vespasiane, ad imperium voco, quam ^ salutare rei 
publicae, quam tibi magnificunij iuxta deos in tua 
manu posituni est. Necspeciem adulantis expaveris : 
a contumelia quam a laude propius fuerit post 
Vitellium eligi. Non adversus divi Augusti acerri- 
mam mentem nee adversus cautissimam Tiberii 
senectutem, ne contra Gai quidem aut Claudii vel 
Neronis fundatam longo imperio domum exsurgimus ; 
cessisti etiam Galbae imaginibus : torpere ultra et 
polluendam perdendamque rem publicam relinquere 
sopor et ignavia videretur, etiam si tibi quam 
inhonesta, tam tuta servitus esset. Abiit iam et 
transvectum est tempus quo posses videri non cu- 
pisse'*: confugiendum est ad imperium. An excidit 
trucidatus Corbulo ? Splendidior origine quam nos 
sumus, fateor, sed et Nero nobilitate natalium 
Vitellium anteibat. Satis clarus est apud timentem 
quisquis tiraetur. Et posse ab exercitu prineipem 
fieri sibi ipse Vitellius documento, nullis stipendiis, 
nulla militari fama, Galbae odio provectus. Ne 
Othonem quidem ducis arte aut exercitus vi/ sed 

^ proniptuni Nipperdey. aut promptum M. 

^ non certe non Af. 

' quam Miiller : tauquam M. 

^ non cupisse Ruperli ct Madvig : concupisse M. 

* exercitus vi Rhcnanus : exercitu sui if. 

^ Cn. Domitius Corbulo, who liad distinguished himself in 
the war against the Parthians, aroused Nero's jealousy and 
was put to death bj' him, Cf. Dio Ca'is. liiii. 17. 

280 



BOOK II. Lxxvi. 

selves, easy of accomplishment, or at least not 
difficult. At the same time they must take into 
account the character of their adviser. Is he ready 
to share the risks involved as well as to give advice ? 
If Fortune favours the undertaking, who is the man 
for whom the highest honour is sought .'' I call you, 
V^espasian, to the throne. How advantageous to 
tlie state, how glorious for you this may prove, are 
questions whicli depend, after the gods, on your own 
acts. Have no fear that I may appear to flatter 
you. It is rather a disgrace than a glory to be 
chosen emperor after Vitellius. It is not against the 
keen mind of the deified Augustus, nor the cautious 
nature of the aged Tiberius, nor against the long- 
established imperial house of even a Gaius or a 
Claudius, or, if you like, of a Nero, that we are 
rising. You respected the ancestry even of Galba. 
But to remain longer inactive and to leave the state 
to corruption and ruin would ajipear nothing but 
sloth and cowardice on your part, even if subservi- 
ence should prove as safe for you as it certainly 
would be disgraceful. The time is already past and 
gone when you could seem to have no desires for 
supreme power. Your only refuge is the throne. 
Have you forgotten the murder of Corbulo ? ^ He 
was of more S2)lendid family than I am, I grant you, 
but Nero also was superior to Vitellius in point of 
noble birth. Anyone who is feared is noble enough 
in the eyes of the man who fears him. Moreover 
you have proof in the case of Vitellius himself that 
an army can make an emperor, for Vitellius owes his 
elevation to no campaigns or reputation as a soldier, 
but solely to men's hatred of Galba. Even Otho, 
who owed his defeat, not to his rival's skill as general 

281 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

praepropera ipsius desperatione victum, iain deside- 
rabilem et magnum principem fecit, cum interim 
spargit legiones, exarmat coliortis, nova cotidie bello 
semina ministrat. Si quid ardoris ac ferociae miles 
habuit, popinis et comissationibus et principis imita- 
tione deteritur : tibi e ludaea et Syria et Aegypto 
novem legiones integrae, nulla acie exhaustae, non 
discordia corruptae, sed firmatus usu miles et belli 
domitor externi : classium alarum cohortium robora 
et fidissimi reges et tua ante omnis experientia. 

LXXVII. "Nobis nihil ultra adrogabo quam ne 
post Valentem et Caecinam numeremur : ne tamen 
Mucianum socium spreveris, quia aemulum non 
experiris. Me Vitellio antepono, te mihi. tuae 
domui triumphale nomen, duo iuvenes, capax iam 
imperii alter et priniis militiae annis apud Ger- 
manicos quoque exercitus clarus. Absurdum fuerit 
non cedere imperio ei cuius filium adoptaturus 
essem, si ipse imperarem. Ceterum inter nos non 
idem prosperarum ad\ ersarumque rerum ordo erit : 
nam si vincimus, honorem quem dederis habebo : 
discrimen ac pericula ex aequo patiemur. Immo, ut 
melius est, tu ^ tuos exercitus rege, milii bellum et 

^ tu add. Kiessling. 

1 The Jews. 

2 Cf. ii. 4 and 81. 

* Vespasian had won this distinction bj' his services in 
Britain in 43 a.d. Cf. iii. 44 ; Suet. Vcsp. 4. 

* Titus had served in Germany and Britain with credit. 
Cf. Suet. Titus, 4. 



BOOK II. LXXVI.-LXXVII. 

or to the force of the opposing army, but to his own 
hasty despair, Vitellius has already made seem a 
great emperor whom men regret ; and in the mean- 
time he is scattering his legions, disarming his 
cohorts, and every day sowing new seeds of war. 
All the enthusiasm and courage that his soldiers 
ever had is being dissipated in taverns, in debauches, 
and in imitation of their emperor. You have in 
Syi'ia, Judea, and Egypt nine legions at their full 
strength, not worn out by fighting, not infected by 
mutiny, but troops who have gained strength by 
experience and proved themselves victorious over a 
foreign foe.-"^ You have strong fleets, cavalry, and 
cohorts, princes wholly loyal to you,^ and an experi- 
ence greater than all others. 

LXXVII. " For myself I shall make no claim save 
not to be reckoned second to Valens and Caecina ; 
yet I beg you not to despise Mucianus as partner in 
your enterprise because you do not find in him a 
rival. I count myself superior to Vitellius and you 
superior to me. Your house has the honour of a 
triumphal name ; ^ it possesses two young men, one 
of whom is already equal to ruling the empire ; he 
also enjoys a high reputation with the forces in 
Germany because his first years of service were 
spent there.* It would be absurd for me not to 
bow before the throne of a man whose son I should 
adopt if I myself held it. Besides, you and I shall 
not stand on the same footing in success as in 
failure, for if we win, I shall have simply the posi- 
tion you choose to give ; but risks and dangers we 
shall share alike. Rather — and this is better — do 
you command your forces here ; leave to me the 
conduct of the actual war and the risks of battle. 

2S3 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

proeliorum inceita trade. Acriore hodie disciplina 
victi cjuam victores agunt. Hos ira, odiunij ultionis 
cupiditas ad virtutem accendit : illi per fastidium 
et contumacia liebescunt. Aperiet et recludet con- 
tecta et tumescentia victricium partium vulnera 
bellum ipsum ; nee mihi maior in tua vigilantia 
parsimonia sapientia fidueia est qnam in Vitellii 
torpore inscitia saevitia. Sed meliorem in hello 
causam quam in pace habemus; nam qui deliberant, 
desciverunt." 

LXXVTII. Post iMuciani orationem ceteri audentius 
circumsistere^ hortari^ responsa vatum et siderum mo- 
tus referre. Nee erat intactus tali superstitione^ ut qui 
mox rerura dominus Seleucum quendam mathemati- 
cum rectorem et praescium palam habuerit. Recursa- 
bant animo vetera omina ^ : cupressus arbor in agris 
eius consi)icua altitudine repente prociderat ac 
postera die eodeni vestigio resurgens procera et 
latior virebat. Grande id prosperumque consensu 
haruspicum et summa claritudo iuveni admodum 
Vespasiano promissa, sed primo triumphalia et 
consulatus et ludaicae victoriae decus implesse 
fidem ominis videbatur: ut haec adeptus est, por- 
tendi sibi imperium credebat. Est ludaeam inter 
Syriamque Carmelus : ita vocant montem deumque. 

^ om'ma. lihenayius : omnia J/. 



BOOK II. LXXVII.-LXXVIII. 

There is stricter discipline to-day in the ranks of the 
defeated than among the victors. The former are 
fired to brave action by rage, hatred, and eager 
desire for revenge ; the latter are losing their vigour 
because they scorn and disdain their opponents. 
War will inevitably open and lay bare the angry 
wounds whicli the victorious party now conceals ; 
nor is the confidence that I have in your vigilance, 
frugality, and wisdom greater than that I feel in the 
sloth, ignorance, and cruelty of Vitellius. Besides, 
our situation is better in war than in peace, for they 
who plan revolt have alread}' revolted." 

LXXVIII. After Mucianus had spoken, the rest 
became bolder ; they gathered about Vespasian, en- 
couraged him, and recalled the prophecies of seers 
and the movements of the stars. Nor indeed was 
he wholly free from such superstitious belief, as was 
evident later when he had obtained supreme power, 
for he openly kept at court an astrologer named 
Seleucus, whom he regarded as his guide and oracle. 
Old omens came back to his mind : once on his 
country estate a cypress of conspicuous height 
suddenly fell, but the next day it rose again on the 
selfsame spot fresh, tall, and with wider expanse 
than before. This occurrence was a favourable omen 
of great significance, as the haruspices all agreed, 
and promised the iiighest distinctions for Vespasian, 
who was then still a young man. At first, liowever, 
the insignia of a triumph, his consulship, and his 
victory over Judea appeared to have fulfilled the 
promise given by the omen ; yet after he had gained 
these honours, he began to think that it was the 
imperial throne that was foretold. Between Judea 
and Syria lies Carmel : this is the name given to both 

285 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Nee simulacrum deo aut templum — sic tradidere 
maiores — : ara tantum et reverentia.^ Illic sacrifi- 
canti Vespasiano, cum spes occultas versaret animo, 
Basilides sacerdos inspectis identidem extis"Quic- 
quid est" inquit, " Vespasiane, quod paras, seu 
domum extruere seu prolatare agros sive ampliare 
servitia, datur tibi magna sedes, ingentes termini, 
multum liominum." Has ambages et statim ex- 
ceperat fama et tunc aperiebat ; nee quicquam niagis 
in ore vulgi. Crebriores apud ipsum sermones, 
quanto sperantibus plura dicuntur. Haud dubia 
destinatione discessere Mucianus Antiochiam, Ves- 
pasianus Caesaream : ilia Syriae, hoc ludaeae caput 
est. 

LXXIX. Initium ferendi ad Vespasianum imperii 
Alexandriae coeptum^ festinante Tiberio Alexandro, 
qui kalendis luliis Sacramento eius legiones adegit. 
Isque primus principatus dies in posterum celebratus, 
quamvis ludaicus exercitus quinto nonas lulias apud 
ipsum iurasset, eo ardore ut ne Titus quidem filius 
expectaretur, Syria remeans et consiliorum inter 
Mucianum ac patrem nuntius. Cuncta impetu 
militum acta non parata contione,- non coniunctis 
legionibus. 

^ ara . . reverentia Agricola : aram . . reverentiam M. 
- contioiie Agricola : cognitione M. 

^ The Roman procurator resided at Caesarea ; but natu- 
rally Jerusalem was the only capital in the e3'es of the 
Jews. 
286 



BOOK II. LXXVIII.-LX'XIX. 

the mountain and the divinity. The god has no 
image or temple — such is the rule handed down by 
the fathers ; there is only an altar and the worship 
of the god. When Vespasian was sacrificing there 
and thinking over his secret hopes in his heart, the 
priest Basilides, after repeated inspection of the 
victim's vitals, said to him : " Whatever you are 
planning, Vespasian, whether to build a house, or to 
enlarge your holdings, or to increase the number of 
your slaves, the god grants you a mighty home, 
limitless bounds, and a multitude of men." This 
obscure oracle rumour had caught up at the time, 
and now was trying to interpret ; nothing indeed 
was more often on men's lips. It was discussed 
even more in Vespasian's presence — for men have 
the more to say to those who at-e filled with hope. 
The two leaders now separated with clear purposes 
before them, Mucianus going to Antioch, V^espasian 
to Caesarea. Antioch is the capital of Syria, Caesarea 
of Judea.^ 

LXXIX. The transfer of the imperial power to 
Vespasian began at Alexandria, where Tiberius 
Alexander acted quickly, administering to his troops 
the oath of allegiance on the first of July. This 
day has been celebrated in later times as the first of 
Vespasian's reign, although it was on the third of 
July that the army in Judea took the oath before 
Vespasian himself, and did it with such enthusiasm 
that they did not wait even for his son Titus, ^^;ho 
was on his way back from Syria and was the medium 
of communication between Mucianus and his father. 
The whole act was carried through by the enthu- 
siastic soldiery without any formal speech or regular 
parade of the legions. 

287 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

LXXX. Dum quaeritur tempus locus quodque in 
re tali difficillimum est, prima vox, dum animo spes 
timor, ratio casus obversantur, egressum cul)iculo 
Vespasianum pauci milites, solito adsistentes^ ordine 
ut legatum salutaturi, imperatorem salutavere : turn 
ceteri adcurrere, Caesarem et Augustum et omnia 
principatus vocabula cumulare. Mens a metu ad 
fortunam transierat : in ipso nihil tumidum,adrogans 
aut in rebus novis novum fuit. Ut primum tantae 
altitudinis^ obfusam oculis caliginem disiecit, mili- 
tariter locutus laeta omnia et affluentia excepit; 
namque id ipsum opperiens Mucianus alacrem mili- 
tem in verba Vespasiani adegit. Turn Antiochensium 
theatrum ingressus, ubi illis^ consultare mos est, 
concurrentis et in adulationem effiisos adloquitur, 
satis decorus etiam Graeca facundia, omniumque 
quae diceret atque ageret arte quadam ostentator. 
Nihil aeque provinciam exercitumqueaccendit quam 
quod adseverabat Mucianus statuisse V^itellium ut 
Germanicas legiones in Syriam ad militiam opulentam 
quietamque transferret, contra Svriacis legionibus 
Germanica hiberna'* caelo ac laboribus dura muta- 
rentur; quippe et provinciales sueto militum con- 
tubernio gaudebant, plerique necessitudinibus et 

1 adsistentes Pic/if Ha: adsistent 3/. 

2 altitudinis Triller: multitudinis M. ^ illi .V. 
* hiberna Rhenanus : hiberno M. 

288 



BOOK II. Lxxx. 

LXXX. While the time, the place, and — what is 
in such case the most difficult thing — the person to 
speak the first word were being discussed, while 
hope and fear, plans and possibilities filled every 
mind, as \'^espasian stepped from his quarters, a few 
soldiers who were drawn up in their usual order 
to salute him as their Legate, saluted him as 
Emperor. Then the rest ran up and began to call 
him Caesar and Augustus ; they heaped on him all 
the titles of an emperor. Their minds suddenly 
turned from fears to confidence in Fortune's favour. 
In Vespasian himself there was no arrogance or pride, 
no novelty of conduct in his new estate. The moment 
that he had dispelled the mist which his elevation to 
such a height spread before his eyes, he spoke as 
befitted a soldier ; then he began to receive favoui*- 
able reports from every quarter ; for Mucianus, who 
was waiting only for this action, now administered 
to his own eager troops the oath of allegiance to 
Vespasian. Then he entered the theatre at Antioch, 
where the people regularly hold their public assem- 
blies, and addressed the crowd which hurried there, 
and expressed itself in extravagant adulation. His 
speech was graceful although he spoke in Greek, 
for lie knew how to give a certain air to all he said 
and did. There was nothing that angered the 
province and the army so much as the assertion of 
Mucianus that Vitellius had decided to transfer the 
legions of Germany to Syria, where they could enjoy 
a profitable and easy service, while in exchange he 
would assign to the troops in Syria the wintry 
climate and the laborious duties of Germany. For 
the provincials were accustomed to live with the 
soldiers, and enjoyed association with them ; in fact, 

289 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

propinquitatibus mixti, et militibus vetustate sti- 
pendiorum nota et familiaria castra in modum pena- 
tium diligebantur. 

LXXXI. Ante idus lulias Syria omnis in eodem 
Sacramento fuit. Accessere cum regno Sohaemus 
baud spernendis viribus, Antiochus vetustis opibus 
ingens et inservientium regum ditissimus. Mox per 
occultos suoriim nuntios excitus ^ ab urbe Agrippa, 
ignaro adbuc VitelHo, celeri na\ igatione propera- 
verat. Nee minore animo regina Berenice partis 
iuvabat, florens aetate formaque et seni quoque 
Vespasiano magnificentia munerum grata. Quidquid 
provinciarum adluitur mari Asia atque Acliaia tenus, 
quantumque introrsus in Pontum et Armenios pate- 
scit, iuravere ; sed inermes legati regebant, nondum 
additis Cappadociae legionibus. ConsiUum de sum- 
ma rerum Beryti habitum. lUuc Mucianus cum 
legatis tribunisque et splendidissimo quoque cen- 
turionum ac militum venit, et e ludaico exercitu 
lecta decora : tantum simul peditum equitumque et 
aemulantium inter se regum paratus speciem for- 
tunae principalis effecerant. 

1 exercitus M. 

^ Sohaemus, a prince of the house of Emesa, had been set 
up by Nero in 54 a.u. as king of Sophene, a district on the 
east of the upper Euphrates. Cf. ii, 4 ; Ann. xiii. 7. 

2 Antiochus, of the Seleucid family, was at this time king 
of Commagene and of a part of Cilicia ; three j'ears later 
Vespasian deposed him and changed his kingdom into a 
Roman province. Cf. ii. 4 ; Ann. xii. 55. 

* The son of Herod Agrippa, who died in 44 A. D., and the 
brother of Berenice ; at this time he was governor of the 
district east of the Jordan. Cf. ii. 4. 

* Cf. ii. 2. 

'' Gappadocia was now governed by a procurator of eques- 

290 



BOOK II. LXXX.-LXXXI. 

many civilians were bound to the soldiers by ties 
of friendship and of marriage, and the soldiers from 
their long service had come to love their old familiar 
camps as their very hearths and homes. 

LXXXI. Before the fifteenth of July all Syria had 
sworn the same allegiance. Vespasian's cause was 
now joined also by Sohaemus ^ with his entire 
kingdom, whose strength was not to be despised, 
and by Antiochus ^ who had enormous ancestral 
wealth, and was in fact the richest of the subject 
princes. Presently Agrippa,^ summoned from Rome 
by ])rivate messages from his friends, while Vitellius 
was still unaware of his action, quickly crossed the 
sea and joined the cause. Queen Berenice showed 
equal spirit in helping Vespasian's party : she had 
great youthful beauty, and commended herself to 
Vespasian for all his years by the splendid gifts 
she made him.* All the pi'ovinces on the coast to 
the frontiers of Achaia and Asia, as well as all the 
inland provinces as far as Pontus and Armenia, took 
the oath of allegiance ; but their governors had no 
armed forces, since Cappadocia had as yet no 
legions.^ A grand council was held at Berytus.^ 
Mucianus came there with all his lieutenants and 
tribunes, as well as his most distinguished centurions 
and soldiers; the army in Judea also sent its best 
representatives. This great concourse of foot and 
horse, with princes who rivalled one another in 
splendid display, made a gathering that befitted the 
Iiigh fortune of an emperor. 

trian rank ; later Vespasian was forced by the frequent 
inroads on the province to put it in charge of an ex-consul 
supported by troops. Suet. Vesp. 8. 
'' Beyrout. 

291 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

LXXXII. Prima belli cura agere dilectus, revocare 
veteranos ; destinantur validae civitates exercendis 
armorum officinis ; apud Antiochensis aurum argen- 
tumque signatur, eaque cuncta per idoneos ministros 
suis quaeque locis festinabantur. Ipse Vespasianus 
adire, hortari, bonos laude, segnis exemplo incitare 
saepius quam coercerCj vitia magis amicorum quani 
virtutes dissimulans. Multos praefecturis et pro- 
eurationibuSj plerosque senatorii ordinis honore per- 
coluit, egregios viros et mox summa adeptos ; qui- 
busdam fortuna pro virtutibus fuit. Donativum 
militi neque Mucianus prima contione nisi modice 
ostenderatj ne Vespasianus quidem plus civili bello 
obtulit quam alii in pace, egregie firmus adversus 
militarem largitionein eoque exercitu meliore. Missi 
ad Parthum Armeniumque legati, provisumque ne 
versis ad civile bellum legionibus terga nudarentur. 
Titum instare ludaeae, Vespasianum obtinere claustra 
Aegypti placuit : sufficere videbantur adversus Vitel- 
lium pars copiarum et dux Mucianus et \^espasiani 
nomen ac nihil ai'duum fatis. Ad omnis exercitus 
legatosque scriptae epistulae praeceptumque ut 
praetorianos Vitellio infensos reciperandae militiae 
premio invitarent. 

LXXXIII. Mucianus cum expedita manu, socium 



^ Their diplomacy was so successful ihat Vologaeses, king 
of the Parthians, offered Vespasian forty thousand cavalry, 
which, however, Vespasian prudently refused. Cf. iv. 51. 

^ Alexandria and Pelusium. 

292 



BOOK II. Lxxxii.-Lxxxm. 

LXXXII. The first business of the war was to 
hold levies and to recall the veterans to the colours. 
The strong towns were selected to manufacture 
arms ; gold and silver were minted at Antioch ; and 
all these preparations, each in its proper place, were 
quickly carried forward by expert agents. Vespasian 
visited each place in person, encouraged the work- 
men, spurring on the industrious by praise and the 
slow by his examjile, concealing his friends' faults 
rather than their virtues. Many he rewarded with 
prefectures and procuratorships ; large numbers of 
excellent men who later attained the highest positions 
he raised to senatorial rank ; in the case of some 
good fortune took the place of merit. In his first 
si)eech Mucianus had held out hopes of only a 
moderate donative to the soldiers ; even Vespasian 
did not offer more for civil war than others did in 
time of peace. He was firmly opposed to extravagant 
gifts to the soldiers and therefore had a better army. 
Embassies were dispatched to the Parthians and 
Armenians, and provision made to avoid leaving their 
rear exposed when the legions were drawn off to 
civil war.^ It was decided that Titus should follow 
up the war in Judea, Vespasian liold the keys to 
Egypt ; ^ and it was agreed that a part of the troops, 
if led by Mucianus, would be enough to deal with 
Vitellius, aided as they would be by the prestige of 
Vespasian's name and by the fact that all things are 
easy for Fate. Letters were addressed to all the 
armies and to all their commanders, directing them 
to try to win over the praetorians, who hated Vitellius, 
by holding out to them the hope of re-entering the 
service. 

LXXXIII. Mucianus, bearing himself rather as a 

293 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

magis imperii quam ministrum agens^ non lento 
itinera, ne cunctari videretur, neque tamen pi'operans, 
gliscere foniam ipso spatio sinebat, gnarus modicas 
viris sibi et niaiora credi de absentibus ; sed legio 
sexta et tredecini vexillariorum niilia ingenti agmine 
sequebantur. Classem e Ponto Byzantium adigi 
iusserat, ambiguus consibi num omissa Moesia Dyr- 
rachium pedite atque equite, simul longis navibus 
versum in Italiam mare clauderet, tuta pone tergum 
Achaia Asiaque, qiias ^ inermis exponi VitelHo, ni 
praesidiis firmarentur ; atque ipsum Vitellium in 
incerto fore quam partem Italiae protegeret, si sibi 
Brundisium Tarentumque et Calabriae Lucaniaeque 
litora infestis classibus peterentur. 

LXXXIV^. Igitur navium militum armorum paratu 
strepere provinciae, sed nihil aeque fatigabat quam 
pecuniarum conquisitio : eos esse belli civilis nervos 
dictitans Mucianus non ius aut verinii in cognitio- 
nibus, sed solam magnitudinem opum spectabat. 
Passim delationes, et locupletissimus quisque in prae- 
dam correpti. Quae gravia atque intoleranda, sed 
necessitate armorum excusata etiam in pace mansere, 
ipso Vespasiano inter initia imperii ad obtinendas 

^ quasi J/. 
294 



BOOK II. Lxxxm.-Lxxxiv. 

partner in empire than as a subordinate, advanced 
with a force in light marching order, not indeed 
slowly, for fear of seeming to hesitate, nor yet in 
haste, for he wished to let distance increase his 
renown, being well aware that he had only moderate 
forces at his disposal and conscious that men magnify 
what is far away. Yet the Sixth legion and thirteen 
thousand veterans followed after him in imposing 
array. He had directed the fleet in the Black Sea 
to concentrate at Byzantium, for he was undecided 
whether he should not leave Moesia to one side and 
occupy Dyrrachium with his foot and horse, estab- 
lishing meantime a blockade in the waters around 
Italy with his ships-of-war. In that way he would 
protect Achaia and Asia in his rear, whereas they 
would be without protection and exposed to Vitel- 
lius, unless he left forces to guard them. He believed 
also that Vitellius himself would be at a loss what 
part of Italy to protect if he prepared to attack with 
his fleet Brundisium, Tarentum, and the coasts of 
Calabria and Lucania. 

LXXXIV. So then the provinces were filled with 
din as ships, soldiers, and arms were made ready 
for their needs ; but nothing troubled them so much 
as the exaction of money. "Money," Mucianus kept 
saying, " is the sinews of civil war." And in deciding 
cases which came before him as judge he had an 
eye not for justice or truth, but only for the size of 
the defendants' fortunes. Delation was rife, and all 
wealthy men were seized as prey. Such proceedings 
are an intolerable burden ; nevertheless, though at 
the time excused by the necessities of war, they 
continued later in time of peace. It is true that 
Vespasian for his part at the beginning of his reign 

295 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

iniquitates baud perinde obstinante, donee indul- 
gentia fortunae et pravis magistris didieit^ aususqtie 
est. Propriis quoque opibus Mucianus bellum iuvit, 
largus privatim, quod avidius de re pubHca sumeret. 
Ceteri conferendarum pecuniarum - exemplum secuti, 
rarissimus quisque eandem in reciperando licentiam 
habuerunt. 

LXXXV. Adcelerata interim Vespasiani coepta 
Illyrici exercitus studio transgressi in partis ; tertia 
legio exempUim cetei-is Moesiae legionibus praebuit; 
octava erat ac septima Claudiana, imbutae favore 
Othonis, quamvis proeHo non interfuissent. Aqui- 
leiam progressae, proturbatis qui de Othone nuntia- 
bant laceratisque vexillis nomen V^itelUi praeferen- 
tibus, rapta postremo pecunia et inter se divisa, 
hostiliter egerant. Unde metus et ex metu consilium, 
posse imputari Vespasiano quae apud Vitellium 
excusanda erant. Ita tres Moesicae legiones per 
epistulas adliciebant Pannonicum exercitum aut 
abnuenti vim parabant. In eo motu Aponius 
Saturninus Moesiae rector pessimum facinus audet, 
missocenturionead interficiendum Tettium lulianum 
septimae legionis legatum ob simultates, quibus 

* dicit M. * pucuniam M. 

296 



BOOK II. LXXXIV.-LXXXV. 

was not so insistent on carrying through such unjust 
actions; but finally, schooled by an indulgent 
fortune and wicked teachers, he learned and dared 
the like. Mucianus contributed generously to the 
war froip his own fortune also ; his liberality with 
his private means corresponding, as men remarked, 
to the excessive greed he showed in taking from 
the state. The rest of the leaders followed his 
example in making contributions ; but only the 
fewest enjoyed the same licence in recovering them. 
LXXXV. Meantime Vespasian's enterprise received 
a favourable impulse from the enthusiasm with which 
the army in Illyricum came over to his side. The 
Third legion set a precedent for the other legions 
in Moesia : these were the Eighth and the Seventh 
Claudiana, both loyal to the memory of Otho, 
although they had not taken part in the battle of 
Bedriacum. Having advanced as far as Aquileia, 
by driving off with violence the messengers who 
brought the news of Otho's defeat, tearing in pieces 
the standards that displayed the name of \'^itellius, 
and finally seizing the camp treasury and dividing it 
among themselves, they had acted like enemies. 
Their conduct filled them with fear, and then fear 
brought the reflection that acts might win them credit 
with Vespasian for which they would have to apolo- 
gize to Vitellius. So the three legions in Moesia 
tried to win over the army in Pannonia by letter ; 
at the same time they prepared to use force if the 
Pannonian troops refused. In this undertaking 
Aponius Saturninus, the governor of Moesia, tried 
a bold and shameful act : prompted by private 
hatred which he tried to conceal behind political 
motives, he sent a centurion to murder Tettius 

297 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

causam partium praetendebat. lulianus comperto 
discrimine et gnaris locorum adscitis per avia 
Moesiae ultra niontem Haemum profugit ; nee 
deinde civili bello inter fuit, per varias moras sus- 
ceptum ad Vespasianum iter trahens et ex nuntiis 
cunctabundus aut properans. 

LXXXVI. At ill Pannonia tertia decima legio ac 
septima Galbiana, dolorem iramque Bedriacensis 
pugnae retinentes, baud cunctanter Vespasiano 
accessere, praecipua vi Primi Antonii. Is legibus 
nocens et tempore Neronis falsi damnatus inter 
alia belli ^ mala senatorium ordinem reciperaverat. 
Praepositus a Galba septimae legioni scriptitasse 
Otboni credebatur, ducem se partibus ofFerens ; a 
quo neglectus in nullo Othoniani belli usu fuit. 
Labantibus Vitellii rebus Vespasianum secutus grande 
momentum addidit, strenuus manu, sermone promp- 
tus, serendae in alios invidiae artifex, discordiis et 
seditionibus potens, raptor, largitor, pace pessimus, 
bello non spernendus. luncti inde Moesici ac 
Pannonici exercitus Dalmaticum militem traxere, 
quamquam consularibus legatis nihil turbantibus. 
Tampius ^ Flavianus Pannoniam, Pompeius Silvanus 
Dalmatiam tenebant, divites senes ; sed procurator 

^ bellum M. 

^ Tampius Faernvs : titus amplius ^f. 

'■ The Balkan Mountains. 



BOOK II. LXXXV.-LXXXVI. 

Julianas, legate of the Seventh legion. Julianus, 
however, learning of his danger, took some men 
who knew the country and escaped through the 
pathless stretches of Moesia to the district beyond 
Mt. Haemus.^ Thereafter he took no part in civil 
war, for although he started to join Vespasian, he 
kept hesitating or hurrying according to the news 
lie received, and found various pretexts for delay. 

LXXXVI. But in Pannonia the Thirteenth legion 
and the Seventh Galbiana, which still felt deep 
resentment over the battle at Bedriacum, did not 
delay to join Vespasian's cause, influenced by the 
conspicuous violence of Primus Antonius. He had 
been found guilty and condemned for fraud in 
Nero's reign, but, as one of the evil effects of the 
war, he had recovered his senatorial rank. Although 
Galba had put him in command of the Seventh 
legion, it was believed that he had written to Otho, 
offering his services as a leader of his cause. Since 
Otho paid no attention to him, he rendered no 
service in the war. Now that the fortunes of Vitel- 
lius began to totter, Primus followed Vespasian and 
gave his cause a great impulse ; for he was vigorous 
in action, ready of speech, skilful in sowing differ- 
ences among his enemies, powerful in stirring up 
discord and strife, ever ready to rob or to bribe — in 
short he was the worst of mortals in peace, but in 
war a man not to be despised. Then the union of 
the forces in Moesia and Pannonia drew the troops 
in Dalmatia to follow their example, although the 
ex- consuls who governed the provinces took no lead 
in the revolt. Tampius Flavianus was the governor 
of Pannonia, Pompeius Silvanus of Dalmatia, both 
rich and old. But with them was the imperial 

299 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

aderat Cornelius Fuscus, vigens aetate, claris nata- 
libiis. Prima iuventa quietis cupidine senatorium 
ordinem exuerat ; idem pro Galba dux coloniae 
suae, eaque opera procurationem adeptus, susceptis 
Vespasiani partibus acerrimam bello facem praetulit : 
non tarn praemiis periculorum quam ipsis periculis 
laetus pro certis et olim partis nova ambigua anci- 
pitia malebat. Igitur movere et quatere, quidquid 
usquam aegrum foret, adgrediuntur. Scriptae in 
Britanniam ad quartadeeimanos, in Hispaniam ad 
primanos epistulae, quod utraque legio pro Othone, 
adversa Vitellio fuerat ; sparguntur per Gallias 
litterae ; momentoque temporis flagrabat ingens 
bellum, Illyricis exercitibus palam desciscentibus, 
ceteris fortunam secuturis. 

LXXXVII, Dum haec per provincias a Vespasiano 
ducibusque partium geruntur, Vitellius contemptior in 
dies segniorque, ad oranis municipiorum villarumque 
amoenitates resistens, gravi urbem agmine petebat. 
Sexaginta milia armatorum sequebantur, licentia 
corrupta ; calonum numerus amplior, procacissimis 
etiam inter servos lixarum ingeniis ; tot legatorum 
amicorumque comitatus inhabilis ad parendum, 
etiam si summa modestia regeretur.^ Onerabant 

^ regetur M. 

^ The name of the colony is unknown. 
300 



BOOK II. Lxxxvi.-Lxxxvri. 

agent Cornelius Fuscus, who was in the full vigour 
of life and of high birth. In his youth his desire 
to lead a quiet life had led him to give up his 
senatorial rank. Yet he had brought his own colony ^ 
over to Galba's side, and by this service had secured 
a procuratorship. He now adopted Vespasian's 
cause and contributed all the fire of his enthusiasm 
to the war ; he found his satisfaction in danger itself 
rather than in the rewards of danger, and preferred 
to certainty and advantages long secured whatever 
was new, uncertain, and in doubt. Therefore the 
leaders set to work to stir up the discontented 
throughout the entire empire. They addressed 
communications to the Fourteenth legion in Britain 
and to the First in Spain, for both these legions had 
been for Otho and opposed to VitelHus ; letters were 
scattered broadcast through the Gallic provinces, 
and in a moment a great war burst into flame, as the 
armies in lllyricium openly revolted and all the rest 
prepared to follow Fortune's lead. 

LXXXVII. While Vespasian and the leaders of 
his party were accomplishing this in the provinces, 
Vitellius became from day to day the more des- 
pised as he grew the more indolent. He stopped 
at every attractive town and villa on his way, and 
so gradually approached Rome with his cumbrous 
army. Sixty thousand armed men were in his train, 
all corrupted by lack of discipline ; still greater 
was the number of camp-followers, and even among 
the slaves the soldiers' servants were the most 
unruly. There was also a great train of officers 
and courtiers, a company incapable of obedience 
even if they had been subject to the strictest 
discipline. The unwieldiness of this great crowd 

301 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

multitudinem obvii ex urbe senatores equitesque, 
quidam metu, multi per adulationem, ceteri ac 
paulatim omnes iie aliis proficiscentibus ipsi re- 
manerent. Adgregabantur e plebe flagitiosa per 
obsequia Vitellio cogniti, scurrae, histriones, aurigae, 
quibus ille amicitiarum dehonestamentis mire gau- 
debat. Nee coloniae modo aut municipia congestu 
copiarum, sed ipsi cultores arvaque maturis iam 
frugibus ut liostile solum vastabantur. 

LXXXVIII. Multae et atroces inter se miHtum 
caedes, post seditionem Ticini coeptam manente 
legionum auxiliorumque discordia ; ubi adversus 
paganos certandum foret/ consensu. Sed plurima 
strages ad septimum ab urbe lapidem. Singulis ibi 
militibus Vitellius paratos cibos ut gladiatoriam 
saginam dividebat ; et efFusa plebes totis se castris 
miscuerat. Incuriosos milites — vernacula utebantur 
urbanitate — quidam spoliavere, abscisis furtim balteis 
an accincti forent rogitantes. Non tulit hidibrium 
insolens contumeliarum animus : inermem populum 
gladiis invasere. Caesus inter alios pater militis, 
cum filium comitaretur ; deinde agnitus et vulgata 

1 fore 3/. 

» ii. 68. 
302 



BOOK I. LXXXVII.-LXXXVIII. 

was increased by senators and knights who came 
out from Rome to meet him, some moved by fear, 
many from a desire to flatter, the majority, and 
then gradually everyone, prompted by a desire not 
to stay behind while others went. From the dregs 
of the people came hordes, well known to Vitellius 
by their shameful and obsequious services — -buffoons, 
actors, jockeys, in whose disgraceful friendship 
he took extraordinary pleasure. Not only the 
colonies and municipal towns with their stores of 
supplies, but the very farmers and their fields in 
which the grain stood ready for the harvest, were 
despoiled as if the land were an enemy's. 

LXXXVIII. The soldiers often fought among 
themselves with sad and fatal effect, for after tlie 
outbreak at Ticinum the differences between the 
legionaries and the auxiliaries had continued.* 
When, however, they had to deal with the country 
people, there was complete unanimity. But the 
worst massacre was perpetrated seven miles from 
Rome. There Vitellius was distributing cooked 
rations to each soldier, as if he were fattening gladi- 
ators ; and crowds of people pouring out from Rome 
had filled the whole camp. While the soldiers were 
off" their guard, some of the civilians, indulging in 
a servile pleasantry, disarmed them by cutting 
their belts without their knowledge; then they 
asked them if they had their swords. The soldiers 
were not accustomed to ridicule, so that their 
tempers could not brook the insult ; they drew 
their weapons and attacked the civilians, who were 
unarmed. Among others, the father of one of the 
soldiers was killed while with his son ; later on he 
was recognized, and, the news of his death 

303 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

caede temperatum ab innoxiis. In urbe tamen tre- 
pidatum praecurrentibus passim militibus ; forum 
maxima petebant, cupidine visendi locum in quo 
Galba iacuisset. Nee minus saevum ^ spectaculum 
erant ipsi, tergis ferarum et ingentibus telis hor- 
rentes^ cum turbam populi per inscitiam parum vita- 
rent, aut ubi lubrico viae vel occursu alicuius 
procidissentj ad iurgium, mox ad manus et ferrum 
transirent, Quin et tribuni praefectique cum terrore 
et armatarum catervis volitabant. 

LXXXIX. Ipse Vitellius a ponte Mulvio insigni 
equo, paludatus accinctusque, senatum et populum 
ante se agens^ quo minus ut captam urbem ingre- 
deretur, amicorum consilio deterritus, sumpta prae- 
texta et composito agmine incessit. Quattuor 
legionum aquilae per frontem totidemque circa e 
legionibus aliis vexilla, mox duodecim alarum signa 
et post peditum ordines eques ; dein quattuor et 
triginta cohortes, ut nomina gentium aut species 
armorum forent, discretae. Ante aquilas praefecti 
castrorum tribunique et prinii centurionum Candida 
veste, ceteri iuxta suam quisque centuriam, armis 
donisque fulgentes ; et militum phalerae torquesque 

^ scaevum M. 
304 



BOOK II. i.xxxviii.-Lxxxix. 

spreading, this slaughter of the innocent ceased. Yet 
in Rome no less alarm was caused by the soldiers 
who everywhere preceded the main army ; these 
tried to find the forum first of all, for they 
wanted to see the place where Galba's body had 
lain. They themselves presented a sight that was 
equally savage, dressed as they were in shaggy skins 
of wild beasts and armed with enormous spears ; 
while, in their ignorance, they failed to avoid the 
crowds, or, when they got a fall from the slippery 
streets or ran into a civilian, broke out in curses and 
soon went on to use their fists and swords. Even 
tribunes and prefects hurried up and down the 
streets spreading ttrror with their armed bands. 

LXXXIX. Vitellius, mounted on a handsome 
horse and wearing a general's cloak and arms, had 
set out from the Mulvian bridge, driving the senate 
and people before him ; but he was dissuaded by 
his courtiers from entering Rome as if it were a 
captured city, and so he changed to a senator's 
toga, ranged his troops in good order, and made 
his entry on foot. The eagles of four legions were 
at the head of the line, while the colours of four 
other legions were to be seen on either side ; then 
came the standards of twelve troops of cavalry, and 
after them foot and horse ; next marched thirty- 
four cohorts distinguished by the names of their 
countries or by their arms. Before the eagles 
marched the prefects of camp, the tribunes, and 
the chief centurions, dressed in white ; the other 
centurions, with polished arms and decorations 
gleaming, marched each with his century. The 
common soldiers' medals and collars were likewise 
bright and shining. It was an imposing sight and 

305 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

splendebant : decora facies et non Vitellio principe 
dignus exercitus. Sic Capitolium ingressus atque 
ibi matrem complexus Augustae nomine honoravit. 

XC. Postera die tamquam apud alterius civitatis 
senatum populumque magnificam orationem de 
semet ipso prompsit, industriam temperantiamque 
suam laudibus attoUens, consciis flagitiorum ipsis qui 
aderant omnique Italia^ per quam somno et luxu 
pudendus incesserat. V'ulgus tanien vacuum curis 
et sine falsi verique discrimine solitas adulationes 
edoctum clamore et vocibus adstrepebat ; abnu- 
entique nomen Augusti expressere at adsumeret, 
tam frustra quam recusaverat. 

XCI. Apud civitatem cuncta interpretantem fu- 
nesti ominis^ loco acceptum est quod maximum 
pontificatum adeptus V^itellius de caerimoniis publicis 
XV kalendas Augustas edixisset, antiquitus infausto 
die Cremereiisi Alliensique cladibus : adeo omnis 
humani divinique iuris expers, pari libertorum ami- 
corum socordia, velut inter temulentos agebat. Sed 
comitia consulum cum candidatis civiliter celebrans 
onmem infimae plebis rumorem in theatro ut spec- 
tator, in circo ut fautor adfectavit : quae grata sane 
et popularia, si a virtutibus proficiscerentur, memoria 

^ omls M. 

1 At the Cremera the Fahii had died to a man in 477 B.C. ; 
and at the Allia the Gauls had defeated the Romans in 390. 
No work, public or private, was undertaken on this dies 
AUiensis. Cf. Livy vi, Iff.; Suet. Vitell. 11. 

306 



BOOK I. Lxxxix.-xci. 

an army which deserved a better emperor than 
Vitellius. With this array he mounted tlie Capitol, 
where he embraced his mother and bestowed on 
her the name of Augusta. 

XC. The next day, as if he were speaking to the 
senate and people of an alien state, Vitellius 
made a boastful speech about himself, extolling his 
own industry and restraint, although his crimes were 
well known to his hearers and indeed to all Italy, 
through which he had come in shameful sloth and 
luxui'y. Yet the populace, careless and unable to 
distinguish between truth and falsehood, shouted 
loud the usual flattery, as it had been taught to do ; 
in spite of his refusal they forced him to take the 
name of Augustus — but his acceptance proved as 
useless as his refusal. 

XCI. A city which found a meaning in every- 
thing naturally regarded as an evil omen the fact 
that on becoming pontifex maximus Vitellius issued 
a proclamation concerning public religious ceremonies 
on the eighteenth of July, a day which for centuries 
had been held to be a day of ill-omen because of the 
disasters suffered at the Cremera and Allia : ^ thus, 
wholly ignorant of law both divine and human, his 
freedmen and courtiers as stupid as himself, he lived 
as if among a set of drunkards. Yet at the time of the 
consular elections he canvassed with his candidates 
like an ordinary citizen ; he eagerly caught at every 
murmur of the lowest orders in the theatre where he 
merely looked on, but in the circus he openly favoured 
his colours. All this no doubt gave pleasure and 
would have won him popularity, if it had been 
prompted by virtue ; but as it was, the memory of 
his former life made men regard these acts as un- 

307 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

vitae prioris indecora et vilia accipiebantur. Venti- 
tabat in senatum, etiam cum parvis de rebus patres 
consulerentur. Ac forte Priscus Helvidius praetor 
designatus contra studium eius censuerat. Commo- 
tus primo Vitellius, non tamen ultra quam tribunos 
plebis in auxilium spretae potestatis advocavit ; mox 
mitigantibus amicis, qui altiorem iracundiam eius 
verebantur, nihil novi accidisse respondit quod duo 
senatores in re publica dissentirent ; solitum se 
etiam Thraseae contra dicere. Inrisere plerique 
impudentiam aemulationis ; aliis id ipsum placebat 
quod neminem ex praepotentibus^ sed Thraseam ad 
exemplar verae gloriae legisset. 

XCII. Praeposuerat praetorianis Publilium ^ Sabi- 
num a 2 praefectura cohortis, lulium Priscum turn 
centurionem : ^ Priscus Valentis, Sabinus Caecinae 
gratia pollebant ; inter discordis Vitellio nihil aucto- 
ritas. Munia imperii Caecina ac Valens obibant, 
olim anxii odiis, quae bello et castris male dissi- 
mulata pravitas amicorum et fecunda gignendis 
inimicitiis civitas auxerat, dum ambitu comitatu et 
immensis salutantium agminibus contendunt com- 
paranturque, variis in hunc aut ilium V^itellii inclina- 
tionibus ; nee umquam satis fida potentia, ubi nimia 
est : simul ipsum V^itellium, subitis offensis aut 

^ Publilium Halm : publium J/. 

^ a Merccrus : ad M. 

' turn centurionem Lijisius : dum centurio e M. 



^ Tiirasea had been the father-in-law of Helvidius. He 
was a leader of the Stoic opposition under Nero, by whose 
orders the senate condemned Thrasea to death in 66 A. D. 
Helvidius was banished from Italy at the same time. Cf. 
Ann. xvi. 21-35. 

308 



BOOK II. xci.-xcii. 

becoming and base. He frequently came to the 
senate, even when the senators were discussing 
trivial matters. Once it happened that Helvidius 
Priscus, being tlien praetor-elect, expressed a view 
which was opposed to his wishes. Vitellius was at first 
excited, but he did nothing more than call the 
tribunes of the people to support his authority that 
had been slighted. Later, when his friends, fearing 
that his anger might be deep-seated, tried to calm 
him, he replied that it was nothing strange for two 
senators to hold different views in the state ; indeed 
he had usually opposed even Thrasea.^ Many re- 
garded this impudent comparison as absurd ; others 
were pleased with the very fact that he had selected, 
not one of the most influential, but Thrasea, to serve 
as a model of true glory. 

XCII. Vitellius had appointed as prefects ot the 
praetorian guard Publilius Sabinus, who was prefect 
of a cohort, and Julius Priscus, a centurion at the 
time. Priscus owed his position to the favour of 
Valens, Sabinus to that of Caecina. When these 
two disagreed Vitellius had no authority. The 
emperor's duties were actually performed by Caecina 
and Valens. These had long hated each other with 
a hatred which had been hardly concealed during the 
war and in camp, and which was now increased by base 
friends and by civic life, always prolific in breeding 
enmities. In their efforts to have a great entourage, 
many courtiers, and long lines at their receptions 
they rivalled each other and provoked comparison, 
while the favour of Vitellius inclined now to one and 
again to the other ; when a man has excessive power, 
he never can have complete trust : at the same time 
Vitellius himself, with his fickle readiness to take 

309 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

intempestivis blanditiis niutabilem, contemnebant 
metuebantque. Nee eo segnius invaserant domos 
hortos opesque imperii, cum flebilis et egens nobilium 
turba, quos ipsos liberosque patriae Galba reddiderat, 
nulla principis misericordia iuvarentur. Gratum 
primoribus civitatis etiam plebs adprobavit, quod 
reversis ab exilio iura libertorum concessisset, quam- 
quam id omni modo servilia ingenia corrumpebant, 
abditis pecuniis per occultos aut ambitiosos sinus, 
et quidam in domum Caesaris transgressi atque ipsis 
dominis potentiores. 

XCIII. Sed miles, plenis castris et redundante 
multitudine, in porticibus aut delubris et urbe tota 
vagus, non principia noscere, non servare vigilias 
neque labore firmari : per inlecebras urbis et inho- 
nesta dictu corpus otio, animum libidinibus immi- 
nuebant. Postremo ne salutis quidem cura infamibus 
\'aticani locis magna pars tetendit, unde crebrae in 
vulgus mortes ; et adiacente Tiberi Germanorum 
Gallorumque ^ obnoxia morbis corpora fluminis avi- 
ditas 2 et aestus impatientia labefecit. Insuper con- 
fusus pravitate vel ambitu ordo militiae : sedecim 



' gavorumque M. 

' a,v iditsis Puieolaniis: aviditate J/. 



310 



BOOK II. xcir.-xciii. 

sudden offence or to resort to unseasonable flattery, 
was the object of their contempt and fears. This had 
not, however, made them slow to seize houses, gardens, 
and the wealth of the empire, while a pathetic and 
poverty-stricken crowd of nobles, whom with their 
children Galba had restored to their native city, re- 
ceived no pity or help from the emperor. An act which 
pleased the great and found approval even among 
the plebeians was that which gave those who returned 
from exile the rights of patrons over their freednien ; 
yet the freedmen by their servile cunning avoided 
the consequences of this act in every way, concealing 
their money by depositing it with obscure friends or 
Avith people of high position ; some of them passed 
into Caesar's household and became more powerful 
even than their masters. 

XCIII. But the soldiers, whose number was far 
too great for the crowded camp, wandered about in 
the colonnades, the temples, and in fact throughout 
the city ; they did no guard-duty and wxre not kept 
in condition by service. Giving themselves up to 
the allurements of the capital and to excesses too 
shameful to name, they constantly weakened their 
physical strength by inactivity, their courage by 
debaucheries. Finally, with no regard even for their 
very lives, a large proportion camped in the un- 
healthy districts of the Vatican, which resulted in 
many deaths among the common soldiery ; and the 
Tiber being close by, the inability of the Gauls and 
Germans to bear the heat and the consequent greed 
with which they drank from the stream weakened 
their bodies, which were already an easy prey to 
disease. Besides this, the different classes of service 
were thrown into confusion by corruption and self- 

311 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

praetoriae, quattuor urbanae cohortes scribebantur, 
quis singula milia inessent. Plus in eo dilectu 
Valens audebat, tamquam ipsum Caecinam periculo 
exemisset. Sane adventu eius partes convaluerant, 
et sinistrum lenti itineris rumorem prospero proelio 
verterat. Omnisque inferioris Gernianiae miles Va- 
lentem adsectabatur, unde primum creditur Caecinae 
fides fluitasse. 

XCIV^ Ceterum non ita ducibus indulsit Vitellius 
ut non plus militi liceret. Sibi quisque militiam 
sumpsere : quamvis indignus, si ita maluerat, urbanae 
militiae adscribebatur ; rursus bonis remanere inter 
legionarios aut alaris volentibus permissum. Nee 
deerant qui vellent, fessi morbis et intemperiem 
caeli incusantes ; robora tamen legionibus absque 
subtracta, convulsum castrorum decus, viginti milibus 
e toto exercitu permixtis magis quam electis. 

Contionante Vitellio postulantur ad supplicium 
Asiaticus et Flavus et Rufinus duces Galliarum, quod 
pro V^indice bellassent. Nee coercebat eius modi 
voces Vitellius : super insitam animo ignaviam con- 



^ The nine praetorian cohorts, which had formed the 
backbone of Otho's army, Vitellius had' disbanded (ii. 67) ; 
in their place he now enrolled sixteen praetorian cohorts, 
and apparently increased the usual three City cohorts to 
four. This increase was probaVjly due to the number volun- 
teering for these advantageous services (chap. 94). 

2 Cf. i. 66 ; ii. 27, 31-44. 

' Cf. i. 6. Of these chiefs nothing more is known. 

312 



BOOK II. xciii.-xciv. 

seeking : sixteen praetorian, four city cohorts were 
enrolled with a quota of a tliousand men each.^ In 
organizing these bodies Valens put himself forward 
as having rescued Caecina himself from peril. It 
was true that his arrival had enabled the party 
of Vitellius to prevail, and that by the victory ^ 
he had got rid of the ugly rumour that he had 
delayed his advance; and all the troops of lower 
Germany were his enthusiastic followers, which 
gives us reason to think that this was the moment 
when Caecina's fidelity to Vitellius began to 
waver. 

XCIV. However, the indulgences of Vitellius to 
his generals did not equal the licence he granted to 
his soldiers. Everyone selected the branch of the 
service he desired : no matter how unworthy a 
soldier might be, he was enrolled for service at 
Rome, if he preferred it. On the other hand, the 
good soldiers were allowed to remain with the 
legions or the cavalry if they wished ; and there 
were some who did so desire, for they were 
exhausted by disease and cursed the climate of 
Rome. Nevertheless the strength was drawn off 
from the legions and cavalry, and the high prestige 
of the praetorian camp was shaken, for these twenty 
thousand men were not a picked body but only a 
confused mob taken from the whole army. 

When Vitellius was addressing his troops, the 
soldiers demanded the punishment of Asiaticus, 
Flavius, and Rufinus, Gallic chiefs who had fought 
for Vindex.^ Vitellius did not try to check demands 
of this sort, for not only was he naturally without 
energy, but he was well aware that the time was 
close at hand when he must pay his soldiers a 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

scius sibi instare donativum et deesse pecuniam 
omnia alia militi largiebatur. Liberti principum 
conferre pro numero mancipiorum ut tributum iussi ; 
ipse sola perdendi cura stabula aurigis extruere, 
circum gladiatorum ferarumque spectaculis opplere, 
tamquam in summa abundantia^ pecuniae inludere. 

XCV. Quin et natalem Vitellii diem Caecina ae 
Valens editis tota urbe vicatim gladiatoribus cele- 
bravere, ingenti paratu et ante ilium diem insolito. 
Laetum foedissimo cuique apud bonos invidiae fuit 
quod extructis in campo Martio aris inferias Neroni 
fecisset.2 Caesae publice victimae cremataeque ; 
facem Augustales subdidere,^ quod sacerdotium, ut 
Romulus Tatio regi, ita Caesar Tiberius luliae genti 
sacravit. Nondum quartus a victoria mensis, et 
libertus Vitellii Asiaticus Polyclitos Patrobios et 
Vetera odiorum nomina aequabat. Nemo in ilia aula 
probitate aut industria certaviL; unum ad potentiam 
iter, prodigis epulis et sumptu ganeaque* satiare 
inexplebilis Vitellii libidines. Ipse abunde ratus si 
praesentibus frueretur, nee in longius consultans, 
noviens miliens sestertium paucissimis mensibus 
intervertisse creditur,^ Magna et misera civitas, 

1 abundantiae M. 

^ fecisset Lipsius : lecisset M. 

^ subdidere Rhenanus : subdere M. 

* g&x\%a.(\a& Palmerius : galane : aque 3/. 

* crederetur sagina M. 

' Cf. i. 37, 49, and ii. 57. 

* Equivalent to over $40,000,000. But the sum may have 
been exaggerated. 

3'4 



BOOK II. xciv.-xcv. 

donative and that he had not the necessary money : 
therefore he indulged his troops in everything else. 
The freedmen of the imperial house were ordered to 
pay a tribute proportionate to the number of their 
slaves ; but the emperor, whose only care was to 
spend money, kept building stables for jockeys, 
filling the arena with exhibitions of gladiators and 
wild beasts, and fooling away money as if his 
treasuries were filled to overflowing. 

XC\^ Moreover, Caecina and Valens celebrated 
his birthday by giving gladiatorial shows in every 
precinct of the city on an enormous scale unheard 
of up to that time. The worst element were 
delighted but the best citizens were scandalized by 
the act of V'itellius in erecting altars on the Campus 
Martius and sacrificing to the shades of Nero. The 
victims were killed and burned in the name of the 
state. The torch was applied to the sacrifices by 
the Augustales, a sacred college which Tiberius 
Caesar liad dedicated to the Julian gens, as Romulus 
had dedicated a college to King Tatius. Four 
months had not yet passed since his victory, and yet 
Asiaticus, a freedman of Vitellius, already equalled a 
Polyclitus, a Patrobius, and the other detested 
names of the past.^ In his court no one tried to 
win a reputation through honesty or industry : there 
was one single road to power, and that was by 
satisfying the emperor's boundless greed with extra- 
vagant banquets and expensive orgies. He himself 
was more than content to enjoy the present hour 
with no thought beyond : and he is believed to have 
squandered nine hundred million sesterces in a very 
few months.^ At once great and wretched, the 
state was forced to endure within a single year an 

315 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

eodem anno Othonem Vitellium passa, inter Vinios 
Fabios Icelos Asiaticos varia et pudenda sorte age- 
bat, donee successere Mucianuset Marcellus etmagis 
alii homines quam alii mores. 

XCVI. Prima Vitellio tertiae legionis defectio 
nuntiatur, missis ab Aponio Saturnino epistulis, 
antequam is quoque Vespasiani partibus adgrega- 
retur ; sed neque Aponius cuncta, ut trepidans re 
subita, perscripserat, et amici adulantes mollius inter- 
pretabantur : unius legionis earn seditionem, ceteris 
exercitibus constare fidem. In hunc modum etiam 
Vitellius apud milites disseruit, praetorianos nuper 
exauctoratos ^ insectatus, a quibus falsos rumores 
dispergi, nee uUum civilis belli metum adseverabat, 
suppresso Vespasiani nomine et vagis per urbem 
militibus qui sermones populi coercerent. Id prae- 
cipuum alimentum famae erat. 

XCVII. Auxilia tamen e Germania Britanniaque 
et Hispaniis excivit, segniter et necessitatem dissi- 
mulans. Perinde legati provinciaeque cunctabantur, 
Hordeonius Flaccus suspectis iam Batavis anxius 
proprio bello, Vettius Bolanus numquam satis quieta 
Britannia, et uterque ambigui. Neque ex Hispaniis 
properabatur, nullo turn ibi consular! : trium legio- 
num legati, pares iure et pi'osperis Vitellii rebus 

^ exaucto rato M. 

* Governor of Moesia, * Cf. ii. 57. 

3 Cf. ii. 65. 
316 



BOOK II. xcv.-xcvii. 

Otho and a Vitellius, and to suffer all the vicissitudes 
of a shameful fate at the hands of a Vinius, a Fabius, 
an Icelus, and an Asiaticus, until at last they were 
succeeded by a Mucianus and a Marcellus — other 
men rather than other characters. 

XCVI. The first defection reported to Vitellius 
was that of the Third legion. The news came in a 
letter sent by Aponius Saturninus ^ before he also 
joined V^espasian's side. But Aponius, in his excite- 
ment over the sudden change, had not written the 
whole truth, and the flattery of courtiers gave a less 
serious interpretation to the news. They said that 
this was the mutiny of only one legion ; that the 
rest of the troops were faithful. It was to the same 
effect that Vitellius himself spoke to the soldiers : 
he attacked the praetorians who had lately been 
discharged, blaming them for spreading false rumours, 
and declared that there was no occasion to fear civil 
war, keeping back Vespasian's name and sending 
soldiers round through the city to check the people's 
talk. Nothing furnished rumour with more food. 

XCVII. Nevertheless he summoned auxiliaries 
from Germany, Britain, and the Spains ; but he did 
this slowly and tried to conceal the necessity of his 
action. The governors and the provinces moved as 
slowly as he. Hordeonius Rufus already suspected 
the Batavians and was disturbed by the possibility of 
having a war of his own ^ ; Vettius Bolanus never 
enjoyed entire ))eace in Britain,^ and both of them 
were wavering in their allegiance. Nor did troops 
hurry from the Spains, for at that moment there was 
no governor there. The commanders of the three 
legions, who were equal in authority and who would 
have vied with each other in obedience to Vitellius 

317 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

certaturi ad obsequium, adversam eius fortunam ex 
aequo detrectabant. In Africa legio cohortesque 
delectae a Clodio Macro, mox a Galba dimissae, rur- 
sus iussu Vitellii militiam cepere ; simul cetera 
iuventus dabat impigre nomina. Quippe integrum 
illic ac favorabilem proconsulatum Vitellius, famosum 
invisumque Vespasianus egerat : proinde socii de 
imperio utriusque coniectabant, sed experimentum 
contra fiiit. 

XCVIII. Ac primo Valerius Festus legatus studia 
provincialium cum fide iuvit ; mox uutabat, palam 
epistulis edictisque ^^itellium, occultis nuntiis Ves- 
pasianum fovens et haec illave defensurus, prout 
invaluissent. Deprehensi cum litteris edictisque 
Vespasiani per Raetiam et Gallias militum et centu- 
rionum quidam ad Vitellium missi necantur : plures 
fefellere, fide amicorimi aut suomet astu ^ occultati. 
Ita Vitellii paratus noscebantur, Vespasiani consilio- 
rum pleraque ignota, primum socordia Vitellii, dein 
Pannonicae Alpes praesidiis insessae nuntios retine- 
bant. Mare quoque etesiarum - flatu in Orientem 
navigantibus secundum, inde adversum erat. 

XCIX. Tandem inruptione hostium atrocibus un- 

^ suomet astu Agricola : suo mestatu M. 

^ etesiarum Ehenamis: ct esi flabra aquilonis arum J/. 

1 Cf. i. Tantl 11. 

* Valerius Festus was commander of tlie Third legion 
in Africa, placed there apparently to keep watch on the 
proconsul Lucius Piso. Cf. iv. 48, 49. 



BOOK II. xcvii.-xcix. 

if his aflalrs liad been prosperous^ now all alike 
shrank from sharing his adversity. In Africa the 
legion and the cohorts raised by Clodius Macer, but 
afterwards dismissed by Galba/ resumed their service 
by order of Vitellius ; at the same time the young 
civilians as well enlisted with enthusiasm. For the 
government of Vitellius as proconsul had been honest 
and popular, while that of Vespasian had been 
notorious and hated ; from such memories the allies 
formed their conjectures as to what each would be as 
emperor; but experience proved exactly the opposite. 

XCV^III. At first the commander, Valerius P'estus, 
loyally supported the wishes of the provincials.- But 
presently he began to waver ; in his public letters 
and documents he favoured V'itellius, but by secret 
messages he fostered Vespasian's interest and was 
ready to take whichever side prevailed. Some 
soldiers and centurions who had been dispatched 
through Rhaetia and the Gallic provinces were 
arrested with letters and proclamations of Vespasian 
on their persons, sent to Vitellius, and put to death. 
The majority of the messengers, however, escaped 
arrest, being concealed by faithful friends or escaping 
by their own wits. In this way the preparations of 
Vitellius became known while most of V^espasian's 
plans remained secret. This was due first of all to 
the stupidity of Vitellius, and secondly to the fact 
that the guards stationed in the Pannonian Alps 
blocked the messengers. Moreover, as this was the 
season of the etesian winds, the sea was favourable 
for vessels sailing to the East, but unfavourable to 
those coming from that quarter. 

XCIX. Finally Vitellius became alarmed by the 
oncoming of the enemy and by the terrifying messages 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

dique nuntiis exterritus Caecinam ac Valentem ex- 
pedire^ ad bellum iubet. Praeniissus Caecina, Valen- 
tem e gravi corporis morbo turn primum adsurgentem 
infirmitas tardabat. Longe alia proficiscentis ex urbe 
Germanici exercitus species : non vigor corporibus, 
non ardor animis ; lentum et rarum agmen, fluxa 
arma, segnes equi ; impatiens solis pulveris tempesta- 
tum, quantunique hebes ad sustinendum laborem 
mileSj tanto ad discordias promptior. Accedebat hue 
Caecinae ambitio vetus, torpor recens^nimia fortunae 
indulgentia soluti in luxum, seu perfidiam meditanti- 
infringere exercitus virtutem inter artes crat. Credi- 
dere plerique Flavii Sabini consiliis concussam 
Caecinae mentem, ministro sermonum Rubric Gallo : 
rata apud Vespasianum fore pacta transitionis. Simul 
odiorum invidiaeque erga Fabium Valentem admone- 
batur ut impar apud Vitellium gratiam virisque apud 
novum principem pararet. 

C. Caecina e comjilexu Vitellii multo cum lionore 
digressus partem equitum ad occupandam Cremonam 
praemisit. Mox vexilla primae^ quartae, quintae- 
decimae, sextaedecimae "^ legionum, dein quinta et 
duoetvicensima secutae ; postremo agmine unaetvi- 

^ expedire Acidaliiis: expediri M. 
^ nieditanti i?/ie«a?; us: meditatio J/. 

^ primae . . . sextaedecimae Ferletus et Nipperdey: in 
cjuattuor decuni XVI M. 

320 



BOOK II. xcix.-c. 

which reached him from every side, and ordered 
Caecina and Valens to prepare for war. Caecina 
was sent on in advance ; Valens, who was at that 
moment just getting up from a serious sickness, was 
delayed by physical weakness. As the army from 
Germany left the city it presented a very different 
appearance from that which it had displayed on enter- 
ing Rome: the soldiers had no vigour, no enthusiasm; 
they marched in a slow and ragged column, dragging 
their weapons, while their horses were without 
spirit ; but the troops who could not endure sun, 
dust, or storm and who had no heart to face toil, 
were all the more ready to quarrel. Another factor 
in the situation was furnished by Caecina's old 
ambition and his newly acquired sloth, for an excess 
of Fortune's favours had made him give way to 
luxury ; or he may have been already planning to 
turn traitor and so have made it part of his plan to 
break the morale of his army. It has been generally 
believed that it was the arguments of Flavius 
Sabinus that made Caecina's loyalty waver, and that 
the go-between was Rubrius Gallus, who assured him 
that Vespasian would approve the conditions on 
which Caecina was to come over. At the same time 
he was reminded of his hatred and jealousy towards 
Fabius Valens and was urged, since his influence 
with Vitellius was not equal to that of his rival, to 
seek favour and support from the new emperor. 

C. Caecina, departing from the embraces of 
Vitellius with great honours, sent a part of his hoi'se 
ahead to occupy Cremona. Presently detachments 
of the First, Fourth, Fifteenth and Sixteenth legions 
followed ; then the Fifth and Twenty-second ; in 
the rear marched the Twenty-first Rapax and the 

321 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

censima Rapax et prima Italica incessere cum vexil- 
lariis trium Britannicarum legionum et electis auxiliis. 
Profecto Caecina scripsit Fabius Valens exercitui, 
quern ipse ductaveratj ut in itinere opperiretur : sic 
sibi cum Caecina convenisse. Qui praesens eoque 
validior mutatum id consilium finxit ut ingruenti 
bello tota mole occurreretur. Ita adcelerare legiones 
Cremonam, pars Hostiliam petere iussae : ipse Raven- 
nam devertit praetexto classem adloquendi ; mox 
Patavii^ secretum componendae proditionis quaesi- 
tum. Namque Lucilius Bassus ^ post praefecturam 
alae Ravennati simul ac Misenensi classibus a Vitellio 
praepositus, quod non statim praefecturam praetorii 
adeptus foret, iniquam iracundiam flagitiosa perfidia 
uleiscebatur. Nee sciri potest traxeritne Caecinam, 
an, quod evenit inter malos ut et similes sint, eadem 
illos pravitas impulerit. CI. Scriptores teniporum, 
qui potiente rerum Flavia domo monimenta belli 
huiusce composuerunt, curam pacis et amorem rei 
publicae, corruptas in adulationem causas, tradidere : 
nobis super insitam levitatem et prodito Galba vilem 
mox fidem aemulatione etiam invidiaque, ne ab 

^ patvi M. ^ Bassus Rhenanus : blaessus M. 

1 When in Lower Germany. 
322 



BOOK II. c.-ci. 

First Italic with detachments from the three legions 
in Britain and with picked auxiliary troops. After 
Caecina had gone, Fabius Valens wrote to the troops 
which he had earlier commanded,^ and ordered them 
to wait for him on the way, saying that he and 
Caecina had agreed to this eflect. But Caecina, 
being with the troops and therefore having the 
advantage over Valens, pretended that the plan had 
been changed that they might meet the rising tide 
of war with their whole strength. So the legions 
were ordered to press on, part to Cremona, part to 
Hostilia ; he himself turned aside to Ravenna under 
the pretext of addressing the fleet ; but presently he 
retired to the secrecy of Padua to arrange the con- 
ditions of betrayal. For Lucilius Bassus, who had 
previously been only a prefect of a squadron of 
cavalry, had been placed by Vitellius in command 
of the Heet of Ravenna along with that of Misenum ; 
but his failure to receive promptly the prefec- 
ture of the praetorian guard had roused in him 
an unjust resentment, which he was now satisfying 
by a shameful and treacherous act of vengeance. 
It is impossible to determine whether Bassus drew 
Caecina on, or whether, since it often haj)pens that 
there is a likeness between bad men, the same 
villainy impelled them both. CI, The contemporary 
historians, who wrote their accounts of this war 
while the Flavian house occupied the throne, have 
indeed recorded their anxiety for peace and devotion 
to the State, falsifying motives in order to flatter ; 
but to me it seems that both men, in addition to 
their natural fickleness and the fact that after be- 
traying Galba they then held their honour cheap, 
were moved by mutual rivalry and a jealous fear 

323 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

aliis apud Vitellium anteirentur, pervertisse ipsum 
V^itellium videntur, Caecina legiones adsecutus cen- 
turionum militumque animos obstinates pro Vitellio 
variis artibus subriiebat : Basso eadem molienti minor 
difficultas erat, lubrica ad mutandam fidem classe ob 
memoriam recentis pro Othone militiae. 



324 



BOOK 11. CI. 

that they would be surpassed by others in the 
imperial favour, and so overthrew Vitellius himself. 
Caecina caught up with his legions and began by 
various devices to undermine the unshaken loyalty 
of the centurions and soldiers towards Vitellius ; 
Bassus found less difficulty when he attempted the 
same with the fleet, for the sailors, remembering 
their recent service to Otho, were ready to shift 
their allegiance. 



325 



BOOK III 



LIBER III 

I. Meliore fato fideque partium Flavianarum 
duces consilia belli tractabant. Poetovionem in 
hiberna tertiae decimae legionis convenerant. Illic 
agitavere placeretne obstrui Pannoniae Alpes, donee 
a tergo vires universae consurgerent, an ire corn- 
minus et certare pro Italia constantius foret. Quibus 
opperiri auxilia et trahere bellum videbatur, Germa- 
nicarum legionum vim famamque extoUebant, et 
advenisse mox cum Vitellio Britannici exercitus 
robora : ipsis nee numerum parem pulsarum nuper 
legionum, et quamquam atrociter loquerentur, mi- 
norem esse apud victos animum. Sed insessis interim 
Alpibus venturum cum copiis Orientis Mucianum ; 
superesse Vespasiano mare, classis, studia provincia- 
rum, per quas velut alterius belli molem cieret. Ita 
salubri mora novas viris adfore, ex ^ praesentibus 
nihil periturum. 

^ ex Urlichs: et M. 



^ Pettau on the Drave in Styria. 

* Cf. ii. 57. Eight thousand had come from Britain. 

* At Bedriacum. Cf. ii. 41-45. 

328 



BOOK III 

I. The generals of the Flavian party were planning 
their campaign with better fortune and greater 
loyalty. They had come together at Poetovio/ 
the winter quarters of the Thirteenth legion. There 
they discussed whether they should guard the passes 
of the Pannonian Alps until the whole mass of their 
forces could be raised behind them, or whether 
it would not be a bolder stroke to engage the 
enemy at once and struggle with him for the 
possession of Italy. Those who favoured waiting 
for the auxiliaries and prolonging the war, em- 
phasized the strength and reputation of the German 
legions and dwelt on the fact that the flower of 
the army in Britain had recently arrived with 
Vitellius ;2 they pointed out that they had on their 
side an inferior number of legions, and at best 
legions which had lately been beaten,^ and that 
although the soldiers talked boldly enough, the 
defeated always have less courage. But while they 
meantime held the Alps, Mucianus, they said, 
would arrive with the troops from the east ; 
Vespasian had besides full control of the sea 
and his fleets, and he could count on the en- 
thusiastic support of the provinces, through whose 
aid he could raise the storm of almost a second war. 
Therefore they declared that delay would favour 
them, that new forces would join them, and that 
they would lose none of their present advantages. 

329 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

n. Ad ea Antonius Primus (is acerrimus belli 
concitator ^) festinationem ipsis utilem^ Vitellio exi- 
tiosam disseruit. Plus socordiae quam fiduciae 
accessisse victoribus ; neque enim in procinctu et 
castris habitos : per omnia Italiae municipia desides, 
tantum hospitibus metuendos, quanto ferocius ante 
se egerintj tanto cupidius insolitas voluptates hau- 
sisse. Circo quoque ac theatris et amoenitate urbis 
emollitos aut valetudinibus fessos ; sed addito spatio 
rediturum et his robur meditatione belli ; nee procul 
Germaniam, unde vires ; Britanniam freto dirimi, 
iuxta Gallias Hispaniasque, utrimque viros equos 
tributa^ ipsamque Italiam et opes urbis ; ac si inferre 
arma ultro velint, duas classis vacuumque Illyricum 
mare. Quid turn claustra montium profutura ? Quid 
tractum in aestatem aliam bellum ? Unde interim 
pecuniam et commeatus ? Quin potius eo ipso 
uterentur quod Pannonicae legiones deceptae magis 
quam victae resurgere in ultionem properent, Moe- 
sici exercitus integras viris attulerint. Si numerus 
militum potius quam legionum putetur, plus hinc 
roboris, nihil libidinum ; et profuisse disciplinae 
ipsum pudorem : equites vero ne turn quidem victos, 

^ conciator J/. 



^ Commander of the Seventh legion, Galbiana. Cf. ii. 
86. 

* The large fleets stationed at Misenum and Ravenna. 
» Cf. ii. 42. 

33° 



BOOK III. II. 

II. In answer Antonius Primus,^ the most en- 
thusiastic partisan of war, ai-gued that liaste was 
helpful to them, ruinous to Vitellius. '' The vic- 
torious side," he said, " has gained a spirit of sloth 
rather than confidence, for their soldiers have not 
been kept within the bounds of camp ; they have 
been loafing about all the municipal towns of Italy, 
fearful only to their hosts ; the savagery that they 
once displayed has been matched by the greed 
with which they have drunk deep of their new 
pleasures. They have been weakened, too, by the 
circus, by the theatres, and by the delights of Rome, 
or else exhausted by disease ; but if they are given 
time, even they will recover their strength by 
preparing for war ; Germany, from which they draw 
their strength, is not far away ; Britain is separated 
only by a strait; the provinces of Gaul and Spain are 
near : from both they receive men, horses, and 
tribute; they hold Italy itself and the wealth of 
Rome ; and if they wish to attack they have two 
fieets^andthe Illyrian Sea is open. In that case, 
what will the mountain barriers avail us .'' What 
profit shall we find in prolonging the war into 
another summer ? Where shall we meantime find 
money and supplies.^ Rather let us take advantage 
of the fact that the Pannonian legions, which were 
deceived rather than defeated,^ are eager to rise 
in revenge ; that the troops in Moesia have con- 
tributed their strength, which is quite unimpaired. 
If we reckon the number of soldiers rather than 
of legions, we see that we have on our side the 
greater force and no debauchery ; the very shame of 
the defeat at Bedriacum has helped our discipline. 
Moreover, the cavalry were not beaten even then, 

33T 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

sed quamquam rebus adversis disiectam Vitellii 
aciem. " Duae tunc Pannonicae ac Moesicae alae 
perrupere hostem : nunc sedecim alarum coniuncta 
signa pulsu sonituque et nube ipsa operient ac 
superfundent oblitos proeliorum equites equosque. 
Nisi quis retinet, idem suasor auctorque consilii ero. 
Vos^ quibus fortuna in integro est, legiones conti- 
nete : mihi expeditae cohortes sufficient. lam 
reseratam Italiam/ impulsas Vitellii res audietis. 
luvabit sequi et vestigiis vincentis insistere." 

III. Haec ac talia flagrans oculis, truci voce, quo 
latius audiretur (etenim se centuriones et quidam 
militum consilio miscuerant), ita effudit ut cautos 
quoque ac providos permoveret, vulgus et ceteri 
unum virum ducemque, spreta aliorum segnitia, 
laudibus ferrent. Hanc sui famam ea statim con- 
tione commoverat, qua recitatis Vespasiani epistulis 
non ut plerique incerta disseruit, hue illuc tracturus 
interpretatione,- prout conduxisset : aperte descen- 
disse in causam videbatur, eoque gravior militibus 
erat culpae vel gloriae socius. 

IV. Proxima Cornelii Fusci procuratoris auctoritas. 

1 reseratam Italiam Pichena : reserata militiam M. 

^ interpretatioiie yicirffflh'ws : interpraetationem 3/. 



1 Cf. ii. 41. 2 Cf. ii. 82. 

3 Cf. ii. 86. 



332 



BOOK III. ii.-iv. 

but in spite of disaster they broke the forces of 
Vitellius/ On that day two squadrons from Pannonia 
and Moesia pierced the enemy's line ; now sixteen 
squadrons charging in a body, by the very noise 
they make and the cloud of dust they raise, will 
overwhelm and bury the horsemen and horses of our 
foes, for they have forgotten what a battle is. 
Unless someone restrains me, I who advise will also 
perform. Do you, whose fortune is still unblemished, 
hold back your legions, if you will ; for me light 
cohorts will be enough. Presently you shall hear 
that the gates of Italy are open, that the power 
of Vitellius is overthrown. Yours will be the 
delight of following the victor and of treading in 
his footsteps." 

III. Thus and in like strain, with flashing eyes 
and in fierce tones that he might be more widely 
heard (for the centurions and some of the common 
soldiers had made their way into the council) did he 
pour forth his words so that he moved even men 
of caution and foresight, while the general throng, 
and after them the rest, scorning the cowardly 
inaction of the other officers, extolled him as the 
one man and the one leader. This reputation 
Primus had won in that assembly from the moment 
in his harangue when, after reading out the letter 
of Vespasian,'^ he did not talk in equivocal terms, 
ready to put this or that interpretation on Vespasian's 
words to his own advantage, as the others had done ; 
but he seemed to have openly joined Vespasian's 
cause ; therefore he carried the greater weight with 
the soldiers, for he was now an accomplice in their 
fault or a partner in their glory. 

IV. After Primus the procurator Cornelius Fuscus ^ 

333 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Is quoque inclementer in Vitellium invehi solitus 
nihil spei sibi inter adversa reliquerat. Tampius 
Flavianus, natura ac senecta cunctantior,^ suspiciones 
militum inritabat, tamquam adfinitatis cum Vitellio 
meminisset ; idemque/ quod coeptante legionuni 
motu profugus, dein sponte remeaverat, perfidiae 
locum quaesisse credebatur. Nam Flavianum, omissa 
Pannonia ingressum Italiam et discrimini exemptumj 
rerum novarum cupido legati nomen resumere et 
misceri civilibus armis impulerat, suadente Cornelio 
Fusco, non quia industria Flaviani egebat, sed ut 
consulare nomen surgentibus cum maxime partibus 
honesta specie praetenderetur. 

V. Ceterum ut transmittere in Italiam impune et 
usui foret, scriptum Aponio Saturnino,^ cum exercitu 
Moesico celeraret. Ac ne inermes provinciae bar- 
baris nationibus exponerentur, principes Sarmatarum 
lazugum, penes quos civitatis regimen, in commi- 
litium adsciti. Plebem quoque et vim equitum, qua 
sola valent, offerebant : remissum id munus, ne inter 
discordias externa molirentur aut maiore ex diverso 
mercede ius fasque exuerent. Trahuntur in partis 

1 cunctantior Halm : cunctatior M. * idque M. 

^ aponio satiu post quae sequitur (7) revirescere . . . ut 
inimici (9), deinde ninocii exerciturn moesico (5) ; verum 
ordinein restituit Pichena. 

* The governor of Pannonia. * i.e. against Vespasian. 
' Governor of Moesia. 

* A people living between the Danube and the Theiss. 

* They also served as hostages for the good behaviour ol 
their people. 

334 



BOOK III. iv.-v. 

had the greatest influence. He also had been in 
the habit of assailing Vitellius violently and so had 
left himself no hope in case of failure. Tampius 
Flavianus,^ whose nature and years made him more 
hesitant, roused the sasj)icions of the soldiers ; they 
thought that he still remembered the family ties 
that bound him to Vitellius. Furthermore, since 
he had tied at the first movement of the legions 
and then had come back of his own accord, the 
troops believed that he had treacherous designs.- 
There was some basis for this suspicion, since 
Flavianus had abandoned Pannonia and withdrawn 
to Italy, where he was not involved in tlie crisis ; 
but later his desire for a revolution had impelled 
him to resume his title of governor and to bear 
a hand in civil war. Cornelius Fuscus urged him to 
take this present step, not because he needed the 
assistance of Flavianus, but because he wished to 
display a consular name to give credit and prestige 
to his party which was just then rising to view. 

V. But in order to be able to enter Italy without 
danger and with advantage, word was sent Aponius 
Saturninus ^ to hurry witii the army then in Moesia. 
To avoid exposing the provinces in their unprotected 
condition to barbarous nations, the ruling chiefs of 
the Sarmatian lazuges^ were called into service with 
the army.^ These chiefs offered their people also and 
their force of cavalry, which constitutes their sole 
effective strength ; but this offer was declined for 
fear that in the midst of civil troubles they might 
undertake some hostile enterprise, or that, if a 
larger reward should be offered by the other side, 
they might abandon all sense of right and justice. 
Vespasian's officers further drew to their side Side 

335 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Sido atque Italicus reges Sueboruni, quis vetus obse- 
quium erga Romanos et gens fidei quam iussorum ^ 
patientior. Opposita^ in latus auxilia, infesta Raetia, 
cui Porcius Septiminus procurator erat, incorruptae 
erga Vitellium fidei. Igitur Sextilius Felix cum ala 
Auriana et octo cohortibus ac Noricorum iuventute 
ad occupandam ripani Aeni^ fluminis, quod Raetos 
Noricosque interfluit^ missus. Nee his aut illis proe- 
lium temptantibus, fortuna partium alibi transacta. 

VI. Antonio vexillarios e cohortibus et partem 
equitum ad invadendam Italiam rapienti comes fuit 
Arrius Varus^ strenuus bello, quam gloriam et dux 
Corbulo et prosperae in Armenia res addiderant. 
Idem secretis apud Neronem sermonibus ferebatur 
Corbulonis virtutes criminatus ; unde infami gratia 
primum pilum adepto laeta ad praesens male parta 
mox in perniciem vertere. Sed Primus ac Varus 
occupata Aquileia per* proxima quaeque et Opitergii 
et Altini laetis animis accipiuntur. Relictum Altini 
praesidium adversus classis Ravennatis conatus,^ 
nondum defectione eius audita. Inde Patavium et 
Ateste partibus adiunxere. Illuc cognitum tris Vi- 

^ qiiam iussorum Scheffer : conimissior M. 
^ opposita ii7ieHa«i<s: posita A/. 

* Aeni Rhenanus: rheni M. 

* per add. Baiter. 

^ conatus suppl. Heinisch. 

^ These Suebi had been established by the younger Drusus 
Caesar north of the Danube, between the March and the 
Waag, in 19 a.d. 

* Raetia lay west of Noricum and north of Italy, so that 
the party of Vespasian had to protect their right flank 
from possible attack by Septiminus. 

^ Antonius Primus was commander of the Seventh Legion 

Z2>^ 



BOOK III. v.-vi. 

and Italicus, princes of the Suebi, who had long 
been lo^al to the Romans and whose people were 
more inclined to remain faithful to Rome than to 
take orders from others.^ "^ hey protected their flank 
with auxiliary troops, for Raetia was hostile to 
Vespasian's party, its procurator Porcius Septiminus 
being unshaken in his loyalty to Vitellius,^ This 
was the reason that Sextilius Felix with the Aurian 
squadron of horse and eight cohorts of infantry was 
despatched to occupy the bank of the river Inn, 
which flows between Raetia and Noricum. Neither 
side wished to test the fortunes of battle, and the 
fate of the parties was decided elsewhere.- 

VI. As Antonius^ hurried forward some detach- 
ments from the cohorts and part of the cavalry to 
invade Italy, he was accompanied by Arrius Varus,'* 
a vigorous fighter, whose fame had been increased 
b y his service under Corbulo and by his successes in 
Armenia. This same Varus, according to common 
report, had in secret conference with Nero brought 
serious charges against Corbulo's good character ; 
by this means he had won, as a reward of shame, the 
rank of chief centurion, and this ill gain, which de- 
lighted him at the time, later proved to be his ruin. 
However, Antonius and Varus occupied Aquileia, 
and then advancing through the adjacent districts 
were received with joy at Opitergium and Altinum.^ 
A force was left at Altinum to block any attempt on 
the part of the fleet at Ravenna, of whose defection 
they had not yet heard. Next they drew Padua 
and Ateste ^ to their side. At Ateste they heard 

Galbiana in Pannonia. Cf. ii. 86; Ann. xiv. 40; Suetonius 
Vitellins 18. 
* Cf. Ann. xiii. 9. * Oderzo and Altino. * Este. 

337 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

tellianas coliortis et alam, cui Sebosianae nomen, 
ad Forum Alieni ponte iuncto consedisse. Placuit 
occasio invadendi incuriosos ; nam id quoque nuntia- 
batur. Luce prima inermos plerosque oppressere. 
Praedictum ut paucis interfectis ceteros pavore ad 
mutandam fidem cogerent. Et fuere qui se statim 
dederent : plures abrupto ponte instanti Iiosti viam 
abstulerunt. Principia belli secundum Flavianos 
data.i 

VII. Vulgata victoria legiones septima Galbiana, 
tertia decima Gemina cum Vedio Aquila legato 
Patavium alacres veniunt. Ibi pauci dies ad requiem 
sumpti, et Minicius lustus praefectus castrorum 
legionis septimae, quia adductius quam civili bello 
imperitabat, subtractus militum irae ad Vespasianum 
missus est. Desiderata diu res interpretatione gloria- 
que in ^ maius accipitur, postquam Galbae imagines 
discordia temporum subversas in omnibus municipiis 
recoli iussit Antonius, decorum pro causa ratus, si 
placere Galbae principatus et partes revirescere 
crederentur. 

VIII. Quaesitum inde quae sedes bello legeretur. 

^ Principia (p'rincipia) . . . data (datae) hiLc transtulit 
Nipperdey ex c. 7 uhi haec verba vulgata victoria sequunlur. 

* in om. M. 

* Probably the present Legnago ; the bridge there was 
over the Adige. 



BOOK III. vi.-viii. 

that three cohorts of the Vitellian forces and the 
squadron of cavahy called Sebosian had occupied 
Forum AHeni ^ and built a bridge over the stream 
there. Primus and \arus decided that this was a 
good opportunity to attack the Vitellians, who were 
wholly off their guard ; for this fact also had been 
reported. At daybreak they cut down many of 
them quite unarmed. They had been advised that 
if they killed a few, they could force the rest by 
fear to change their allegiance ; and there were 
some who surrendered at once. I'he larger part, 
however, broke down the bridge and so, by cutting 
off the road, blocked their foes' advance. The 
opening of the campaign was favourable to Vespasian's 
side. 

VII. When the news of the victory was noised 
abroad, two legions, the Seventh Galbiana and the 
Tenth Gemina, marched with all speed to Padua under 
their commander V^edius Aquila. There they rested 
for a few days during which Minicius Justus, prefect 
of the camp of the Seventh legion, whose discipline 
had been somewhat too strict for civil war, was 
withdrawn from the soldiers' resentment by being 
sent to Vespasian. An act long desired was now- 
received with delight and given a Hattering inter- 
pretation beyond its deserts, when Antonius gave 
orders that in all the towns Galba's statues, which 
liad been thrown down in the disorders of the times, 
should again be honoured. His real motive was that 
he believed that it would dignify Vespasian's cause 
if this were accounted an approval of Galba's 
j)rincipate and a revival of his party. 

VIII. Then Vespasian's commanders considered 
what place they should select as the seat of war. 

339 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Verona potior visa, patentibus circum campis ad 
pugnara equestrem, qua praevalebant : simul colo- 
niam copiis validam auferre Vitellio in rem famamque 
videbatur. Possessa ipso transitu Vicetia ; quod per 
se parvum ^ (etenim modicae municipio vires) magni 
momenti locum obtinuit reputantibus illic Caecinam 
genitum et patriam hostium duci ereptam. In V^ero- 
nensibus pretium fuit : exemplo opibusque partis 
iuvere ; et interiectus exercitus Raetiam luliasque 
Alpis, [ac] 2 ne pervium ilia Germanicis exercitibus 
foret, obsaepserat. Quae ignara Vespasiano aut 
vetita : quippe Aquileiae sisti bellum expectarique 
Mucianum iubebat, adiciebatque imperio consilium, 
quando Aegyptus, claustra annonae, vectigalia opu- 
lentissimarum provinciarum obtinerentur, posse Vi- 
tellii exercitum egestate stipendii frumentique ad 
deditionem subigi. Eadem Mucianus crebris epistulis 
monebat, incruentam et sine luctu victoriam et alia 
luiiusce modi praetexendo, sed gloriae avidus atque 
omne belli decus sibi retinens. Ceterum ex distan- 
tibus terrarum spatiis consilia post res adferebantur. 
IX. Igitur repentino incurso Antonius stationes 
hostium inrupit; temptatisque levi proelio animis 

^ parvum Halm : parum M. ° scd. Lipsiu?. 

^ Vicenza. - Over Ihe Brenner Pass. 

^ Egypt, Syria, and Asia. 

340 



BOOK III. vni.-ix. 

They decided on V^erona because there are open 
plains about it suited to the operations of cavalry, 
in which their chief strength lay ; and at the same 
time to take away from Vitellius so strong a colony 
seemed likely to contribute to their own cause 
and reputation. As they advanced they seized 
Vicetia.i This was no great thing in itself, for the 
town had but moderate resources, yet its capture 
had great significance in the minds of those who 
considered that it was Caecina's birthplace and that 
the enemy's general had seen his native town 
snatched from him. But V^erona was a real gain : 
the example and resources of its inhabitants were 
helpful, and the army's position between Raetia and 
the Julian Alps blocked the entrance at that point 
of the forces from Germany. ^ All these operations 
were unknown to Vespasian or had been forbidden 
by him. He had directed that his forces should not 
carry their operations beyond Aquileia, but should 
wait there for Mucianus ; and he had also given the 
reasons for his orders, pointing out that since they 
held Egypt, controlled the grain supply of Italy, and 
possessed the revenues of the richest provinces,^ 
the army of Vitellius could be forced to surrender 
by lack of pay and food. Mucianus wrote frequent 
warnings to the same effect, giving as his reason his 
desire for a victory which would cost no blood or 
sorrow ; in reality he was ambitious for personal 
fame and wished to keep for himself all the glory of 
the war. However, the distances were so great that 
the advice arrived after the events. 

IX. So then Antonius suddenly attacked the 
enemy's posts ; but after testing his foe's courage 
in a trifling skirmish, he withdrew his troops with 

341 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

ex aequo diseessum. Mox Caeciiia inter Hostiliam, 
vicum Veronensium, et paludes Tartari fluminis 
castra permuniit, tutus loco, cum terga fluminCj 
latera obiectu {)aludis tegerentur. Quod si adfuisset 
fides, aut o})|)riini universis Vitellianorum viribus 
duae legiones, nondum coniuncto Moesico exercitu, 
potueie, aut retro actae deserta Italia turpem fugam 
conscivissent. Sed Caecina per varias moras prima 
hostibus prodidit temjjora belli, dum quos armis 
pellere promptum erat, epistulis increpat, donee per 
nuntios pacta perfidiae firmaret. Interim Aponius 
Saturninus cum legione septima Claudiana advenit. 
Legioni tribunus Vipstanus Messala praeerat, claris 
maioribus, egregius i{)se et qui solus ad id bellum 
artis bonas attulisset. Has ad copias nequaquam 
Vitellianis paris (quippe tres adhuc legiones erant) 
niisit epistulas Caecina, temeritatem victa arma 
tractantium incusans. Simul virtus Germanici 
exercitus laudibus attollebatur, \'itellii modica et 
vulgari mentione, nulla in Vespasianum contumelia : 
nihil prorsus quod aut corrumperet hostem aut 
terreret. Flavianarum partium duces omissa prioris 
fortunae defensione pro V^espasiano magnifice, pro 



1 Ostiglia. 2 Tartaro. 

^ From Moesia. Cf. chap. 5. 

* For the legate Tettius Julianas had fled. Cf. ii. 85. 

^ Vipstanus Messala wrote a history of this war which 
Tacitus employed (iii. 2.5, 28) ; he is also one of the partici- 
pants in the Dialogus de Oratorihus. 

342 



BOOK III. IX. 

no advantage to eitlier side. Presently Caecina 
established his camp between Hostilia/ a village in 
the district of the Veronese, and the marshes of the 
river Tartarus.- Here he was protected by the 
situation itself, his rear being covered by the river 
and his flanks by the marshes. If he had only been 
loyal to \'itellius, with the combined forces of the 
Vitellians lie might have crushed the two legions at 
Verona, for the troops from Moesia had not yet 
joined them ; or at least he could have driven them 
back and made them abandon Italy in disgraceful 
flight. But as it was, by various delays he betrayed 
to his opponents the first advantages of the campaign, 
spending his time in writing letters, reproving those 
whom he might easily have routed with his arms, 
until he could through messengers conclude the 
terms of his own treason. In the meantime Aponius 
Saturninus arrived with the Seventh or Claudian 
legion. 3 This legion was commanded ^ by the tribune 
Vipstanus Messala,^ a man of eminent family and of 
personal distinction ; indeed he was the only one 
who had brought with him to the war some honour- 
able pursuits. To these forces, which were by no 
means a match for those of Vitellius, since thus far 
only three legions had concentrated at Verona, 
Caecina now wrote, reproving them for their rash- 
ness in taking up arms after defeat. At the same 
time he praised the valour of the German army, but 
made only slight and casual reference to Vitellius, 
with no derogatory mention of Vespasian ; and he 
said nothing that was calculated to win over or 
frighten his opponents. The chiefs of the Flavian 
party in reply made no apology for their past mis- 
fortunes, but they spoke out boldly for Vespasian ; 

343 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

causa fidenter, de exercitu securi^ in Vitellium ut 
inimici praesumpsere, facta tribunis centurionibusque 
retinendi quae Vitellius indulsisset spe; atque ipsum 
Caecinam non obscure ad transitionem hortabantur. 
Recitatae pro contione epistulae addidere fiduciam, 
quod submisse^ Caecina, velut ofFendere Vespasi- 
anum timens, ipsorum duces contemptim tamquam 
insultantes Vitellio scripsissent. 

X. Adventu deinde duarum legionum, e quibus 
tertiam Dillius Aponianus,- octavam Numisius Lupus 
ducebantj ostentare viris et militari vallo Veronam 
circumdare placuit. Forte Galbianae legioni in 
adversa fronte valli opus cesserat^ et visi procul 
sociorum equites vanam formidinem ut hostes fecere. 
Rapiuntur arma metu ^ proditionis. Ira militum in 
Tampium Flavianum incubuit, nullo criminis argu- 
mento^ sed iam pridem invisus turbine quodam ad 
exitium poscebatur : propinquum Vitellii^ proditorem 
Othonis, interceptorem donativi clamitabant. Nee 
defensioni locus^ quamquam supplicis manus ten- 
deret, humi plerumque stratus, lacera veste, pectus 
atque ora singultu quatiens. Id ipsum apud infensos 

^ summisisse M. 

' Aponianus Rhenanus: apontanus J/. 

^ arma metu Facrnus : arma et ut M. 



^ Governor of Pannonia, iii. 4. 



344 



BOOK III. ix.-x. 

displaying confidence in their cause and faith in the 
security of their army, they assailed Vitellius as 
if they were his personal enemies, and gave the 
tribunes and centurions reason to hope that they 
might keep the indulgences that Vitellius had 
granted them. Caecina himself they urged in no 
ambiffuous terms to come over to their side. This 
correspondence the Flavian leaders read to their 
soldiers in assembly and thereby inspired their 
troops with additional confidence ; for Caecina had 
written in humble terms, as if afraid of offending 
Vespasian, while their generals had written in scorn 
and with the evident desire to insult \'itellius. 

X. Then two other legions arrived, the Third in 
command of Dillius Aponianus, the Eighth under 
Numisius Lupus. The Flavian party now decided 
to show their strength and to surround ^'erona with 
a rampart. It happened that the Galbian legion 
was assigned to work on that part of the lines that 
faced the enemy ; seeing in the distance some 
allied cavalry, they became panic-stricken, for they 
thought that the enemy was coming. They seized 
their arms, fearing that they had been betrayed. 
The soldiers' wrath fell on Tampius Flavianus,^ of 
whose guilt there was not the slightest proof; but 
the troops already hated him and now in a whirlwind 
of rage demanded his death. They cried out that 
he was a kinsman of Vitellius, that he had betrayed 
Otho, and had diverted the donative intended for 
them. Flavianus had no opportunity to defend 
himself, although he raised his hands in supplication, 
grovelled repeatedly on the ground, tore his gar- 
ments, while the tears ran down his face and his 
breast was convulsed with sobs. These very acts 

345 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

incitamentum eratj tamquam nimius pavor con- 
scientiam argueret. Obturbabatur niilitum vocibus 
Aponius, cum loqui coeptaret ; fremiti! et clamore 
ceteros aspernantur. Uni Antonio apertae militum 
aures ; namque et facuudia aderat mulcendique 
vulgum artes et auctoritas. Ubi crudescere seditio 
et a conviciis ac probris ad tela et manus transibant, 
inici catenas Flaviano iubet. Sensit ludibrium miles, 
disiectisqiie qui tribunal tuebantur extrema vis para- 
batur. Opposuit sinum Antonius stricto ferro, aut 
militum se manibus aut suis moriturum obtestans, 
ut quemque notum et aliquo militari decore insignem 
aspexerat, ad ferendam opem nomine ciens. Mox 
conversus ad signa et bellorum deos, hostium potius 
exercitibus ilium furorem, illam discordiam inicerent 
orabat, donee fatisceret seditio et extremo iam die 
sua quisque in tentoria dilaberentur. Profectus 
eadem nocte Flavianus obviis Vespasiani litteris 
discrimini exemptus est. 

XI. Legiones velut tabe infectae Aponium Sa- 
turninum Moesici exercitus legatum eo atrocius 
adgrediuntur, quod non, ut prius, labore et opere 
fessae, sed medio diei exarserant, vulgatis epistulis, 



* Aponius Saturninus, the governor of Moesia (ii. 85; 
ill. o) naturally took the lead, but without avail. 

- The eagles •were regarded as sacred and were kept with 
images of the gods in a kind of chapel at headquarters. 

^ The letter from Vespasian absolved Flavianus from any 
disloyalty toward him. 



BOOK III. x.-xi. 

increased the rage of the soldiers, for they regarded 
Ills excessive terror as proof of his guilt. When 
Aponius^ began to speak, he was interrupted by the 
soldiers' cries ; they expressed their scorn of the 
other commanders by groans and howls. Antonius 
was the oidy one to whom they would lend an ear, 
for he was eloquent, had influence, and possessed 
the art of quieting a mob. When he saw that the 
mutiny was gaining strength and the soldiers were 
about to pass from reproaches and insults to armed 
force, he ordered Flavianus to be put in chains. 
But the troops saw through the ruse, thrust aside 
those who guarded the tribunal, and prepared to use 
extreme violence. Antonius drew his sword and 
pointed it at his breast, declaring that he would die 
by his soldiers' hands or by his own ; at the same 
time he called by name to his assistance every 
soldier in sight whom he knew or who had some 
military decoration. Presently he turned toward 
the standards and the gods of war,- praying them 
to inspire rather the enemy's forces with this 
madness and this discord. At last the mutiny 
gradually spent itself, and as the day was now 
near its end, the soldiers slipped away, each to his 
quarters. The same night Flavianus set out from 
camp, but was met by a letter from ^'espasian which 
saved him from danger.*^ 

XI Then the legions, as if smitten with a mad 
contagion, assailed Aponius Saturninus, the com- 
mander of the army from Moesia. They attacked 
him with the greater violence, for they were not as 
before tired by severe labour, but their anger blazed 
up suddenly in the middle of the day on the publica- 
tion of some letters which Saturninus was believed 

347 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

quas Saturninus ad Vitellium scripsisse credebatur. 

Ut olim virtutis niodestiaeque, tunc procacitatis 
et petulantiae certamen erat, ne minus violenter 
Aponium quam Flavianum ad supplicium depo- 
scerent. Quippe Moesicae legiones adiutam a se 
Pannonicorum ultionem referenteSj et Pannonici, 
velut absolverentur aliorum seditione, iterare culpam 
gaudebant. In hortoSj in quibus devertebatur Sa- 
turninus, pergunt. Nee tarn Primus et Aponianus 
et Messala, quamquam omni modo nisi, eripuere 
Saturninum quam obscuritas latebrarum, quibus 
occulebatur, vacantium forte balnearum fornacibus 
abditus ; mox omissis lictoribus Patavium concessit : 
digressu consularium uni Antonio vis ac potestas 
in utrumque exercitum fuit, cedentibus collegis et 
obversis militum^ studiis. Nee deerant qui crederent 
utramque seditionem fraude Antonii coeptam, ut 
solus bello frueretur. 

XII. Ne in Vitellii quidem partibus quietae 
mentes : exitiosiore discordia non suspicionibus 
vulgi, sed perfidia ducum turbabantur. Lucilius 
Bassus classis Ravennatis praefectus ambiguos mili- 
tum animos, quod magna pars Dalniatae Pannoniique 
erant, quae provinciae Vespasiano tenebantur, parti- 
bus eius adgregaverat. Nox prodilioni electa, ut 

^ mililibus J/. 

^ Here Tacitus picks up the story from the end of the 
second book. 

348 



BOOK III. xi.-xn. 

to have written to Vitellius. While once the soldiers 
had vied with one another in bravery and good 
discipline, they now strove to excel in insolence and 
audacity, for they did not wish to be less violent 
in the demands for the punishment of Aponius than 
they had been for that of Flavianus. The legions 
ft'om Moesia remembered that they had supported 
the troops from Pannonia in the vengeance that 
they had taken, and the latter, as if freed from 
guilt by the mutiny of others, found delight in 
repeating their fault. They hurried to the gardens 
where Saturninus had his quarters ; and in spite of all 
their efforts, it was not so much Primus and Aponi- 
anus and Messala who saved Saturninus as it was the 
obscurity of his hiding-place. He concealed himself 
in the furnace of a bath that happened to be unused. 
Presently he dismissed his lictors and fled to Padua. 
Now that the ex-consuls had gone, all power and 
authority over both armies fell into the hands of 
Antonius alone, for his fellow-officers gave way to 
him, and the soldiers had regai'd only for him. 
There were some who believed that he had 
treacherously fostered both mutinies that he alone 
might profit by the war. 

XII. Nor on tlie side of Vitellius were men's 
minds at ease ; ^ their distress, however, arose from 
more fatal discord, due not to the suspicions of the 
common soldiers, but to the treachery of the com- 
manders. Lucilius Bassus, prefect of the fleet at 
Ravenna, taking advantage of the irresolution of his 
forces caused by the fact that most of them came 
from the provinces of Dalmatia and Pannonia, which 
were then in Vespasian's hands, had won them to 
his side. Night was selected as the time to con- 

349 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

ceteris ignaris soli in principia defectores coirent. 
Bassus pudore seu metu^ quisnam exitus foret^ intra 
domum opperiebatur. Trierarclii magno tumultu 
Vitellii imagines invadunt ; et paucis resistentium 
obtruncatis^ ceterum valgus rerum novarum studio 
in Vespasianuni inclinabat. Turn progressus Lucilius 
auctorem se palarn praebet. Classis Cornelium 
Fuscuni praefectum sibi destinat^ qui propere adcu- 
currit. Bassus honorata custodia Liburnicis navibus 
Atriam pervectus a praefecto alae Vibennio Rufino, 
praesidium illic agitaiite, vincitur, sed exsoluta statini 
vincula interventu Hormi Caesaris liberti : is quoque 
inter duces habebatur. 

XIII. At Caecina, defectione classis vulgata, 
primores centurionum et })aucos militum, ceteris 
per militiae munera dispersis, secretum castrorum 
adfectans in principia vocat. Ibi Vespasiani virtutem 
virisque partium extollit : transfugisse classem, in 
arto commeatuni, adversas Gallias Hispaniasque, 
nihil in urbe fidum ; atque omnia de \'itellio in 
deterius. Mox incipientibus qui conscii aderant, 
ceteros re nova attonitos in verba Vespasiani adigit ; 

^ obtruncatis cod. det.: oljumbialis M. 

1 Cf. ii. 86. * Atri. 

35° 



BOOK III. xii.-xiii. 

summate the treason, in order that the accomplices 
might meet at headquarters alone without the 
knowledge of the rest. Bassus waited in his quarters, 
prompted by shame or by fear as to the outcome. The 
trier-irchs with loud shouts attacked the statues ot 
Vitellius ; and after a few of those who resisted had 
been killed, the rest of the crowd, eager for a change, 
began to favour Vesj)asian. Then Lucilius appeared 
and showed himself openly as the ringleader. But 
the fleet chose Cornelius Fuscus ^ as their prefect, 
who came to Ravenna with all speed. Bassus was 
taken to Adria ^ with an escort of light vessels under 
an honourable guard. He was put in chains by the 
prefect of cavalry, Vibennius Rufinus, who Avas on 
garrison duty there ; but he was at once released 
through the intervention of Hormus, a freedman of 
Vespasian. Hormus also was counted among the 
leaders of the Flavian party. 

Xni. But as soon as the revolt of the fleet was 
known, Caecina sent away most of his troops on 
various military duties, and then, taking advantage 
of the empty camp, called the leading centurions 
and a few of the common soldiers to headquarters. 
There he spoke in high terms of V^espasian's courage 
and the strength of his party. " The fleet has 
revolted," he said, "we are hard pressed for supplies, 
the Gallic and Spanish provinces ai-e hostile, and no 
dependence can be put on Rome." All that he had 
to say concerning Vitellius was derogatory to his cause. 
Then while the majority of those present were still 
dazed by this sudden turn of affairs, he administered 
to them the oath of allegiance to Vespasian, those 
who were privy to the plan being the first to take it. 
At the same time they tore down the statues of 

351 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

simul Vitellii imagines dereptae et missi qui Antonio 
nuntiarent. Sed ubi totis castris in fama proditio, 
recurrens in principia miles praescriptum Vespasiani 
nomen, proiectas Vitellii effigies aspexit. vastum 
primo silentium, mox cuncta simul erumpunt. Hue 
cecidisse Germanici exercitus gloriam ut sine proe- 
lio, sine vulnere vinctas manus et capta traderent 
arma? Quas enim ex diverso legiones ? Nempe 
victas ; et abesse unicum Othoniani exercitus robur, 
primanos quartadecimanosque, quos tamen isdem 
illis campis fuderint straverintque. Ut tot arma- 
torum milia, velut grex venalium, exuli Antonio 
donum darentur? Octo nimirum legiones unius 
classis accessionem fore. Id Basso, id Caecinae 
visum, postquam domos hortos opes principi abstu- 
lerint, etiam auferre militem.^ Integros incruentos- 
que, Flavianis quoque partibus vilis, quid dicturos 
reposcentibus aut prospera aut adversa ? 

XIV. Haec singuli, haec universi, ut quemque 
dolor impulerat, vociferantes, initio a quinta legione 
orto, repositis Vitellii imaginibus vincla Caecinae 
iniciunt ; Fabium Fabullum quintae legionis legatum 
et Cassium Longum praefectum castrorum duces 
deligunt ; forte oblatos trium Liburnicarum milites, 
ignaros et insontis, trucidant ; relictis castris, ab- 

^ etiam auferre militem 7/^r6??;i : etiam militibus principem 
auferre litem M. 

1 Cf. ii. 86. 

352 



BOOK III. xiii.-xiv. 

Vitellius and sent a committee to inform Antonius 
of what they had done. But when the news of the 
treason spread through the whole camp, the soldiers 
ran to headquarters, where they saw V'espasian's name 
put up on the standards and the statues of Vitellius 
overthrown ; at first there was utter silence, and 
then all their rage burst out. " Has the glory of the 
German troops sunk to this," they cried, "tliat with- 
out a struggle and without a wound they will offer 
their hands to fetters and surrender their weapons 
to the foe ? What are these legions that are opposed 
to us } Those we defeated ! And yet the chief 
strength of Otho's army, the First and Fourteenth 
legions, are not here ; still those legions too we 
routed and overthrew on the same fields. Shall all 
these thousands of armed men be presented to that 
exile Antonius,^ as if they were a herd of slaves on 
the block ? No doubt eight legions are to go over 
to one poor fleet ! Bassus and Caecina have now 
decided, after having robbed the emperor of palaces, 
gardens, and treasure, to take away his soldiers also. 
Uninjured and with no mark of blood upon us, we 
shall be cheap in the eyes even of the Flavian party ; 
and what shall we say to those who ask us about our 
successes and defeats? " 

XIV. With such cries, now separately, now in a 
body, as indignation moved each, the Fifth legion 
taking the lead, they replaced the statues of 
Vitellius and threw Caecina into chains. They 
chose as tiieir commanders Fabius FabuUus, legate of 
the Fifth legion, and Cassius Longus, prefect of the 
camp. Happening to meet the marines from three 
light galleys who had no knowledge or complicity in 
what had happened, they slew them. Leaving their 

353 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

rupto ponte Hostiliam riirsus, inde Cremoiiam per- 
gunt^ ut legionibus primae Italicae et unietvicensin)ae 
Rapaci iiingerentur, quas Caecina ad obtinendam 
Cremonani cum {larte equitum praeiniserat. 

XV. Ubi haec coinperta Antonio, discordis aniniis, 
discretos viribus liostium exercitus adgredi statuit, 
antequani ducibus auctoritas, militi obsequium et 
iunctis legionibiis fiducia rediret. Namque Fabium 
Valentem profectum ab urbe adceleraturumque 
cognita Caecinae proditione coniectabat ; et fidus 
\"itellio Fabius nee militiae ignarus. Simul ingens 
Germanorum vis per Raetiam timebatur. Ex ^ Britan- 
nia Galliaque et His])ania auxilia Vitellius acciverat, 
immensam belli luem, ni Antonius id ipsum metuens 
festinato proelio victoriam praecepisset. Universe 
cum exercitu secundis- a Verona castris Bedriacum 
venit. Postero die legionibus ad muniendum 
retentis, auxiliares cohortes in Cremonensem agruni 
missae ut specie parandarum copiarum civili praeda 
miles imbueretur : ipse cum quattuor milibus equitum 
ad octavum a Bedriaco progressus quo licentius 
popularentur. Exploratores, ut mos est, longius 
curabant. 

XVI. Quinta ferme hora diei erat, cum citus eques 

^ ex Agricola : et M. 
^ secundi M. 

J Cf. ii. 100. 

^ Something over thirty miles. 

354 



BOOK III. XIV. -XVI. 

camp, they broke down the bridge and hurried back 
to Hostilia, and then moved toward Cremona to join 
the two legions that Caecina had despatdied with 
part of the cavalry to occupy the town. These were 
the First Italian and the Twenty-first Rapax.^ 

XV^. When Antonius heard of this, he decided to 
attack liis opponents' troops while they were still 
distracted in purpose and while their strength was 
divided, and not to give time for the leaders to 
recover their authority, the troops their spirit of 
obedience, and the legions the confidence that they 
would feel when once more united. For he suspected 
that Fabius V'alens had already left Rome and 
would make all haste when he heard of Caecina's 
treachery ; and in fact Fabius was both faithful to 
Vitellius and not ignorant of war. At the same 
time Antonius feared a great invasion of Germans 
through Raetia. Moreover, Vitellius had summoned 
auxiliaries from Britain, Gaul, and Spain, who would 
indeed have been utter ruin to the war, if Antonius, 
fearing this very thing, had not precipitated an 
engagement and gained the victory before their 
arrival. He now moved in two days with his entire 
army from Verona to Bedriacum.^ The next day, 
keeping his legionaries to fortify his position, he 
sent his cohorts of auxiliaries into the district around 
Cremona to let the soldiers have a taste of the booty 
to be gained from civilians, although his pretext was 
to secure supplies. Antonius himself with four 
thousand horse advanced eight miles beyond 
Bedriacum that they might pillage with greater 
freedom. His scouts, as usual, watched the country 
still further from camp. 

XVI. About eleven o'clock a horseman rode up 

355 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

adventarehostis, praegredi paucos, motum fremitum- 
que late audiri nuntiavit. Dum Antonius quidnam 
agendum consul tat, aviditate navandae operae Arrius 
Varus cum promptissimis equitum prorupit impulit- 
que Vitellianos modica caede ; nam plurium adcursu 
versa fortuna, et acerrimus quisque sequentium fugae 
ultimus erat. Nee sponte Antonii properatum, et 
fore quae acciderunt^ rebatur. Hortatus sues ut 
magno animo capesserent pugnam, diductis in latera 
turmis vacuum medio relinquit iter quo Varum 
equitesque eius reciperet ; iussae armari legiones : 
datum per agros signum ut, qua cuique proximum, 
omissa praeda proelio occurreret. Pavidus interim 
Varus turbae suorum misceturintulitque formidinem. 
Pulsi cum sauciis integri suomet ipsi metu et 
angustiis viarum conflictabantur. 

XVII. Nullum in ilia trepidatione Antonius con- 
stantis ducis aut fortis " militis officium omisit. Occur- 
sare paventibus, retinere cedentis, ubi plurimus 
labor, unde aliqua spes, consilio manu voce insignis 
hosti, conspicuus suis. Eo postremo ardoris pro- 

1 acciderunt Madvig : acciderant M. 
^ ioviis J cidalius: fortissimi J/. 

* That is, those who had been most eager in pursuit were 
also the most stubborn in retreat. 

356 



BOOK III. xvi.-xvii. 

at full speed and reported that the enemy was 
coming ; that a small number preceded the main 
body, but that the movement and noise of their 
advance could be heard over a wide area. While 
Antonius Avas considering what course to pursue, 
Arrius Varus, prompted by his eagerness to do 
something important, rushed forward with the 
boldest of the cavalry and drove back the Vitellians ; 
but he inflicted only a slight loss, for when larger 
forces came up, the fortune of battle was reversed ; 
and those who had been pursuing the Vitellians 
most vigorously now were the last to retreat.^ 
Antonius had not desired this hasty attack and he 
expected the result to be what it actually proved. 
He now urged his men to engage with all courage 
and withdrew his squadrons to the flanks, leaving 
an open path in the centre for the reception of 
Varus and his cavalry. He directed the legions 
to arm, and gave the signal through the fields for 
his men to leave their booty and quickly form for 
battle, each joining the company nearest him. In 
the meantime Varus in a panic regained the main 
bod}' of his comrades and communicated his terror 
to them. The uninjured and the wounded alike 
were forced back in the confusion caused by their 
own fright and the narrow roads, 

XVII. In this panic Antonius failed in no duty 
that a determined general or a brave soldier should 
perform. He ran to those who were terrified, held 
back those who were fleeing ; wherever there was 
the greatest danger, wherever there was some 
hope, there his counsel, his action, and his words of 
encouragement made him a mark for the enemy 
and conspicuous before his men. Finally, he was 

357 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

vectus est ut vexillarium fugientem hasta trans- 

verberaret ; mox raptum vexillum in liostem vertit. 

Quo pudore baud plures quam centum equites 

restitere :^ iuvit locus, artiore illic via et fracto inter- 

fluentis rivi ponte, qui incerto alveo et praecipitibus 

ripis fugam impediebat. Ea necessitas seu fortuna 

lapsas iam partis restituit. Firmati inter se densis 

ordinibus excipiunt Vitellianos temere effusos, atque 

illi^ consternantur. Antonius instare perculsis, ster- 

nere obvios, simul ceteri, ut cuique ingenium, spo- 

liare, capere, arma equosque abripere. Et exciti 

pros2:)ero clamore, qui modo per agros fuga palabantur, 

victoriae se miscebant. 

XVIII. Ad quartum a Cremona lapidem fulsere 

legionum signa Rapacis atque Italicae, laeto inter 

initia equitum suorum proelio illuc usque provecta. 

Sed ^ ubi fortuna contra fuit, non laxare ordines, non 

recipere turbatos, non obviam ire ultroque adgredi 

hostem tantum per spatium cursu et pugnando 

fessum. Forte ducti ^ baud perinde rebus prosperis 

ducem dcsideraverant atque in adversis deesse 

intellegebant. Nutantem aciem victor equitatus 

incursat ; et Vipstanus Messala tribiinus cum 

1 resistere il/. * iWi Hkenanus : illic J/. 

^ provectas. et M. * ducti Halm : victi M. 

358 



BOOK III. xvii.-xviii. 

carried to such a pitch of excitement that he 
transfixed with a spear a colour-bearer who was 
running away, then seized the standard, and 
turned it towards the foe. Struck Avith shame 
some horsemen — not over one hundred in all — 
made a stand against the enemy. The cliaracter 
of the ground favoured them, the road at this point 
being narrower and the bridge broken down across a 
stream which came in the way and with its unknown 
depths and steep banks made flight difficult. It was 
such necessity or good luck that restored the fortunes 
of a side that was already well nigh lost. The troops 
reformed in firm and solid ranks and received the 
Vitellians, who, coming on in disorder, were thrown 
back in confusion. Antonius pursued those who were 
panic-stricken, cut down those who resisted, while 
the rest of his troops, each following his own nature, 
robbed the dead, took prisoners, or carried off" arms 
and horses. The soldiers, who a moment before 
were fleeing through the open fields, were attracted 
by the shouts of success and joined in the victory. 

XVIII. Four miles from Cremona the gleam of 
the standards of the legions Rapax and Italica was 
suddenly seen ; for, hearing of the early success of 
their cavalry, they had hurried on to this point. 
But when fortune opposed them, they did not open 
out their lines, receive the fugitives, or advance and 
take the initiative in attacking their opponents, who 
were exhausted with their long advance and with 
fighting. Being now guided bj^ chance, in their 
adversity they realized their lack of a leader as 
they had never missed him in success. When their 
line wavered, the enemy's victorious horse suddenly 
attacked ; the tribune Vipstanus Messala also came 

359 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Moesicis auxiliaribus adsequitur, quos multi e^ 
legionariis quamquam raptim ductos aequabant : ita 
mixtus pedes equesque rupere legionum agmen. Et 
propinqua Cremonensium moenia quanto plus spei 
ad effugiuin minorem ad resistendum animuni dabant. 
Nee Antonius ultra institit^ memor laboris ac vulne- 
rum, quibus tam anceps proelii fortuna^ quamvis 
prospero fine^ equites equosque adflictaverat. 

XIX. Inumbrante vespera universum Flavian! 
exercitus robur advenit. Utque cumulos super et 
recentia caede vestigia incessere, quasi debellatum 
foret, pergere Cremonam et victos in deditionem 
accipere aut expugnare deposcunt. Haec in medio, 
pulchra dictu : ilia sibi quisque, posse coloniam piano 
sitam impetu capi. Idem audaciae per tenebras in- 
rumpentibus et maiorem rapiendi licentiam. Quod 
si lucem opperiantur, iam paeem, iam preces, et pro 
labore ac vulnerihus clementiam et gloriam, inania, 
laturos, sed opes Cremonensium in sinu praefectorum 
legatorumque fore. Expugnatae ui-bis praedam ad 
militenij deditae ad duces pertinere. Spernuntur 
centuriones tribunique, ac ne vox cuiusquam 

^ multi e Duhncr: militiae M. 
360 



BOOK III. xviii.-xix. 

up bringing some auxiliary troops from Moesia with 
whom many legionaries had kept pace in spite ot 
their rapid advance ; and so the Flavian foot and 
horse combined broke through the line of the two 
legions. The neighbouring walls of Verona, while 
offering hope of a refuge, gave them less courage 
for resistance. Still Antonius did not press on 
further, for he realized that his soldiers -were 
exhausted by their efforts and by the wounds with 
which the struggle, so long uncertain in spite of 
its successful end, had afflicted both horsemen and 
horses. 

XIX. As evening fell, the great mass of the 
Flavian troops arrived in a body. As they marched 
over the heaps of the dead where the signs of the 
bloody conflict were still fresh, imagining that the 
war was over, they demanded to go on to Cremona 
and receive the surrender of their defeated op- 
ponents, or else to storm the town. Thus they 
spoke openly — fine words indeed ; but what each 
said to himself was that the colony situated in 
a plain could be carried by storm ; they would 
have as much courage if they broke in during the 
dark, and they would have a greater licence to 
plunder. But if they waited for the light, there 
would be at once appeals and prayers for peace, and 
in return for toil and wounds the common soldiers 
would bear off such empty prizes as clemency and 
glory, while the wealth of Cremona would fill the 
purses of the prefects and commanders. " The 
booty of a city," they said, "always falls to the 
soldiers if it is captured, to the officers if it surren- 
ders." They treated with scorn their centurions 
and tribunes, rattling their ai'ms to avoid hearing 

361 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITL'S 

audiatur, quatiunt^ arma, rupturi imperium ni 
ducantur. 

XX. Turn Antonius inserens se manipulis, ubi 
aspectu et auctoritate silentium fecerat, non se 
decus neque pretium eripere tam bene meritis 
adfirmabat, sed divisa inter exercitum ducesque 
munia : militibus cupidinem pugnandi convenirCj 
duces providendo, consultando^ cunctatione saepius 
quam temeritate prodesse. Ut pro virili portione 
armis ac manu victoriam iuverit^ ratione et consilio, 
propriis ducis artibus, profuturum ; neque enini 
anibigua esse quae occurrant, noctem et ignotae 
situm urbiSj intus hostis et cuncta insidiis opportuna. 
Non si pateant portae, nisi explorato^ nisi die 
intrandum. An ohpugnationem inchoaturos adempto 
omni prospectu^ quis aequus locus, quanta altitudo 
moenium, tormentisne et telis an operibus et vineis 
adgredienda urbs foret ? Mox conversus ad singulos, 
nuni securis dolabrasque et cetera expugnandis 
urbibus secum attulissent, rogitabat. Et cum ab- 
nuerent, " Gladiisne " inquit " et pilis perfringere ac 
subruere muros ullae manus possunt ? Si aggereni 
struere, si pluteis cratibusve protegi necesse fuerit, 
ut vulgus improvidum inriti stabimus^ altitudinem 
turrium et aliena raunimenta mirantes ? Quin potius 

^ quatiuntur M. 
362 



BOOK III. XIX. -XX. 

anyone's words, and they were ready to defy their 
officers if not led to the assault. 

XX. Then Antonius made his way among the 
companies, and when by his appearance and in- 
fluence he had secured silence, he addressed them 
to this effect : " I have no desire to take away either 
honour or reward from soldiers who have deserved 
so well, but there is a division of duties between 
soldiers and generals : to soldiers belongs the eager 
enthusiasm for battle, but generals must help by 
foresight, by counsel, and more often by delay than 
by rash action. As I have done my full part to 
secure victory with my arms and my personal efforts, 
I will now help by wise counsel, which is the 
quality proper to a leader. For there can be no 
question as to the obstacles before us — night and 
the situation of this strange city, the fact that the 
enemy is within, and that everything is favourable 
for an ambuscade. Even if the gates were open, 
we ought not to enter except after reconnaissance 
and by day. Or will you begin a siege when 
wholly cut off from seeing what ground is level, 
how high the walls, whether to attack with artillery 
and weapons or with siege works and protecting 
sheds ? " Then turning to one and another, he asked 
them whether they had brought with them axes, 
picks, and the other implements for storming cities. 
When they said that they had not, he asked : 
"Can any troops break through walls and under- 
mine them with swords and javelins? If we need 
to build a mound, or protect ourselves with mantlets 
and fascines, shall we stand here useless like an im- 
provident mob, gaping with wonder at the lofty towers 
and fortifications of others ? Shall we not rather 

3^3 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

mora noctis unius, advectis tormentis machinisque, 
vim victoriamque nobiscum ferimus ? " Simul lixas 
calonesque cum recentissimis equitum Bedriacum 
mittit, copias ceteraque usui adlaturos. 

XXI. Id vero aegre tolerante milite prope sedi- 
tionem ventum, cum progressi equites sub ipsa 
moenia vagos e Cremonensibus corripiunt, quorum 
indicio noscitur sex Vitellianas legiones omnemque 
exereitum, qui Hostiliae egerat, eo ipso die triginta 
milia passuum emensum, comperta suorum clade in 
proelium accingi ac iam ad fore. Is terror obstructas 
mentis consiliis ducis aperuit. Sistere tertiam de- 
cimam legionem in ipso viae^ Postumiae aggere 
iubetj cui iuncta a laevo septima Galbiana patenti 
campo stetit, dein septima Claudiana, agresti fossa 
(ita locus erat) praemunita ; dextro octava per 
apertum limitem, mox tertia ^ densis arbustis inter- 
septa. Hie aquilarum signorumque ordo : milites 
mixti per tenebras, ut fors tulerat ; praetorianum 
vexillum proximum tertianis, cohortes auxiliorum in 
cornibus, latera ac terga equite circumdata ; Sido 
atque Italicus Suebi cum delectis popularium priniori 
in acie versabantur. 

XXII, At Vitellianus exercitus, cui adquiescere 
Cremonae et reciperatis cibo somnoque viribus 

^ in alae vo M. 

^ tertia Pichcna : tertia decima M. 

^ The Postumian Road, which ran from Cremona to 
Verona, was here carried on a raised causeway because of 
the marshy character of the ground. 

364 



BOOK III. xx.-xxii. 

at the expense of a single night fetch up artillery 
and engines, and so bring with us the force to 
secure victory ? " At the same time he sent the 
sutlers, servants, and the freshest of the cavalry to 
Bedriacum to fetch supplies and all else tliey needed. 

XXI. But the soldiers found inaction hard ; in 
fact they were near a mutiny when a body of 
horsemen who had ridden up under the very walls 
of Cremona caught some stragglers from the town 
and learned from them that six Vitellian legions 
and all the force that had been stationed at Hostilia, 
after marching thirty miles that day, had heard of 
the losses that their associates had suffered, and that 
they Avere now preparing for battle — in fact would 
soon be there. Tiiis alarming danger opened their 
obstinate ears to the plans of their general. He 
ordered the Thirteenth legion to take its position 
on the actual causeway of the Postumian Road.^ 
Immediately on the Thirteenth's left the Seventh 
Galbian stood in open country, next the Seventh 
Claudian, protected, as the ground ran, by a ditch. 
On the right was the Eighth legion on an open 
cross-road, and then the Third, distributed among 
dense thickets. This was the order of the eagles 
and standards ; the soldiers took their places in 
the darkness without order, wherever chance set 
them. The praetorians' standard was next the Third 
legion; the cohorts of auxiliaries were on the wings; 
and the cavalry covered their flanks and rear. The 
Suebian princes Sido and Italicus with picked troops 
from their tribes were in the front ranks. 

XXII. The wise policy for the troops of Vitellius 
was to revive their strength by food and sleep at 
Cremona and then to put to flight and crush their 

365 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

confectum algore atque iiiedia hosteni postera die 
profligare ac proruere ratio fuit^ indigus rectoris, 
inops cunsilii^ tertia ferme noctis hora paratis iam 
dispositisque Flavianis impingitur. Ordinem agminis 
disiecti per iram ac tenebras adseverare non ausim, 
qiiamquam alii tradiderint quartam Macedonicam 
dextrum ^ suorum cornu, quintam et quiiitam deci- 
mam cum vexillis nonae secundaeque et vicensimae 
Britannicarum legionum inediam aciem, sextadeci- 
manos duoetvicensimanosque et primanos laevuni 
cornu coniplesse. Rapaces atque Italici omnibus se 
manipulis miscuerant ; eques auxiliaque sibi ipsi 
locum legere. Proeiium tota nocte varium^ anceps^ 
atrox, his, ruisus illis exitiabile. Nihil animus aut 
manus, ne oculi quidem provisu iuvabant. Eadem 
utraque acie arma, crebris interrogationibus notum 
pugnae signum, permixta vexilla, ut quisque globus 
capta ex hostibus hue vel illuc raptabat. Urgue- 
batur maxime septima legio, nuper a Galba con- 
scripta. Occisi sex primorum ordinum centuriones, 
abrepta quaedam signa : ipsam aquilam Atilius Verus 
primi pili centurio multa cum hostium strage et ad 
extremum moriens servaverat. 

XXIII. Sustinuit labentem aciem Aiitonius accitis 

1 dextrum Faernus : dextro M, 
366 



BOOK III. xxii.-xxiii. 

op{)onents, who would be exhausted by cold and 
lack of food. But being without a leader, destitute 
of a plan, at about nine o'clock in the evening 
they flung themselves on the Flavian troops, who 
were ready and in their stations. I should not dare 
to state definitely the order in which they advanced, 
for their line was thrown into confusion by the 
soldiers' fury and by the darkness. Some writers, 
however, have said that the Fourth Macedonian 
legion was on their extreme right, the Fifth and 
Fifteenth with detachments from the Ninth, Second, 
and Twentieth British formed their centre, while the 
Sixteenth, Twenty-second, and First constituted their 
left. The troops of the two legions known as the 
Rapax and the Italica had joined comjjanies in 
every part of the line ; the cavalry and auxiliaries 
selected their own positions. The battle lasted the 
entire night with varied fortune, uncertain as to 
its outcome, savage, and fatal now to one side, now 
to the other. Neither courage nor arms, nor even 
their eyes, which might have foreseen danger, were 
of any avail. The weapons in both lines were the 
same, the watchwords for battle became known, for 
they were constantly asked ; the standards were 
confused as some band or other carried off" in this 
direction or that those they had captured from 
their foes. The Seventh legion, lately enrolled by 
Galba, was hardest pressed : it lost six centurions 
of the first rank ; some of its standards were cap- 
tured ; its eagle was finally saved by Atilius Verus, 
a centurion of the first rank, who in his efforts 
killed many of the enemy, only finally to fall dying 
himself. 

XXIII. Antonius strengthened his wavering line 

367 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

praetorianis. Qui ubi excepere pugnam, pellunt 
hostem, dein pelluntur. Namque Vitelliani tor- 
menta in aggerem viae contulerant ut tela vacuo 
atque aperto excuterentur, dispersa primo et arbustis 
sine hostium noxa inlisa. Magnitudine eximia 
quintae ^ decimae legionis ballista ingentibus saxis 
hostilem aciem proruebat. Lateque cladem intu- 
lisset ni duo milites praeclarum facinus ausi, arreptis 
e strage scutis ignorati, vincla ac libramenta tor- 
mentorum abscidissent. Statim confossi sunt eoque 
intercidere nomina : de facto haud ambigitur. 
Neutro inclinaverat fortuna donee adulta nocte luna 
surgens ostenderet acies falleretque. Sed Flavianis 
aequior a tergo ; hinc maiores equorum virorumque 
umbrae, et false, ut in corpora, ictu tela hostium citra 
cadebant : Vitelliani adverso lumine conlucentes velut 
ex )cculto iaculantibus incauti offerebantur. 

XXIV. Igitur Antonius, ubi noscere suos noscique 
poterat, alios pudore et probris, multos laude et 
hortatu, omnis spe promissisque accendens, cur 
resumpsissent ^ arma, Pannonicas legiones interro- 



^ quintae Lipsius : quartae M. 

* cur resumpsissent Lipsius : currari sumpsissent M. 



368 



BOOK III. xxiii.-xMv. 

by bringing up the praetorians. On engaging they 
drove back the enemy, only to be driven back 
themselves, for the Vitellians had concentrated their 
artillery on the raised road that they might have 
free and open ground from which to fire ; their 
earlier shots had been scattered and had struck the 
trees without injuring the enemy. A ballista of 
enormous size belonging to the Fifteenth legion 
began to do great harm to the Flavians' line with 
the huge stones that it hurled ; and it would have 
caused wide destruction if it had not been for the 
splendid bravery of two soldiers, who, taking some 
shields from the dead and so disguising themselves, 
cut the ropes and springs of the machine. They 
were at once run through and thus their names were 
lost ; but there is no doubt about their deed. 
Fortune inclined to neither side until, as the night 
wore on, the rising moon illuminated the lines with 
its deceptive light. But this was more favourable 
to the Flavian forces, for the moon was behind 
them and so magnified the shadows of horses and 
men ; while their opponents, deceived by the shadows, 
aimed at them as if they were the actual bodies, and 
therefore their spears fell short ; but the Vitellians, 
having the moonlight in their faces and thus being 
clearly seen, unconsciously presented a mark to 
their enemies, who shot, so to speak, from con- 
cealment. 

XXIV. When Antonius could recognize his soldiers 
and be recognized by them, he began to urge them 
on, some by shame and reinoaches, more by praise 
and encouragement, but all by hope and promises. 
He asked the Pannonian legions why they had 
taken up their arms again ; he reminded them that 

3<^9 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

gabat : illos esse campos, in quibus abolere labem 
prioris ignominiae, ubi reciperare gloriam possent. 
Turn ad Moesicos conversus principes auctoresque 
belli ciebat : frustra minis ^ et verbis provocates 
Vitellianos, si manus eorura oculosque non tolerent.^ 
Haec, ut quosque accesserat ; plura ad tertianos, 
veterum recentiumque admonens, ut sub M. Antonio 
ParthoSj sub Corbulone Armenios, nuper Sarmatas 
pepulissent. Mox infensus praetorianis " Vos " in- 
quit, " nisi vincitis, pagani, quis alius imperator, 
quae castra alia excipient ? Illic signa armaque vestra 
sunt, et mors victis; nam ignominiam^consumpsistis." 
Undique clamor, et orientem solem (ita in Syria mos 
est) tertiani salutavere. 

XXV. Vagus inde an consilio ducis subditus 
rumor, advenisse Mucianum, exercitus in vicem 
salutasse. Gradum inferunt quasi recentibus auxiliis 
aucti, rariore iam Vitellianorum acie, ut quos nullo 
rectore suus quemque impetus vel pavor contraheret 
diduceretve.* Postquam impulses ^ sensit Antonius, 
denso agmine obturbabat. Laxati ordines abrum- 

^ firastra Inlsset M. * tollerent M. ^ ignominia M. 
* diduceretvo Li'psiu^ : duceretve M. 
^ inpiilsos Bipontini : pulsos M. 

1 In 36 B.C. 2 63 a.d. * Cf. i. 79. 

* That is, the action of the Third legion in saluting the 
rising sun. 

37° 



BOOK III. x.viv.-x.vv. 

this was the field on which they could blot out the 
stain of their earlier disgrace, where they could 
regain their former glory. Tiien turning to the 
soldiers from Moesia he appealed to them as the 
authors and promoters of this war. He told them 
that it had been useless to challenge the Vitellians 
with threats and words, if they could not endure 
their hands and looks. This he said as he came 
to each division ; but he spoke at greater length to 
the troops of the Tliird legion, reminding them of 
their ancient glory as well as of their later achieve- 
ments, of their victory over the Parthians when 
Mark Antony was their leader,^ over the Armenians 
when Corbulo commanded,- and of their recent 
defeat of the Sarmatians.^ Then he indignantly 
said to the praetorians : " As for you, clowns that 
you are, if you do not win to-day, what other general 
or other camp will take you in .-* Yonder are your 
standards and your arms, and, if defeated, death ; 
for dishonour you have exhausted." A shout arose 
from the entire army ; and the soldiers of the Third 
legion, according to the Syrian custom, hailed the 
rising sun. 

XXV. This action * gave rise to a vague rumour, 
which perhaps the general started with intention, 
to the effect that Mucianus had arrived and that the 
two armies had greeted each other. The Flavian 
forces then advanced as if reinforced by fresh troops ; 
the Vitellian line was now more ragged, as was natural 
with troops who had no commander, but closed or 
opened out their ranks as courage or fear moved 
individuals. After Antonius saw that they were 
shaken, he assailed them in mass formation. Their 
weakened lines were broken and could not be 

371 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

puntur, nee restitui quivere impedientibus vehiculis 
tormentisque. Per limitem viae sparguntur festina- 
tione consectandi victores. Eo notabilior caedes 
fuit, quia filius patrem interfecit. Rem nominaque 
auctore Vipstano Messala tradam. lulius Mansuetus 
ex Hispania, Rapaci legioni additus, impubem filium 
domi liquerat. Is mox adultus^ inter septimanos a 
Galba conscriptus, oblatum forte patrem et vulnere 
stratum dum semianimem scrutatur, agnitus ag- 
noscensque et exsanguem amplexus, voce flebili 
precabatur placatos patris manis, neve se ut parri- 
cidam aversarentur : publicum id facinus ; et unum 
militem quotam civilium armorum partem ? Simul 
attollere corpus, aperire humum, supremo erga 
parentem officio fungi. Advertere proximi, deinde 
plures : hinc per omnem aciem miraculum et questus 
et saevissimi belli exsecratio. Nee eo segnius pi'O- 
pinquos adfinis fratres trucidant ^ spoliant : factum 
esse scelus loquuntur faciuntque. 

XXVI. Ut Cremonam venere, novum immensumque 
opus occurrit. Othoniano bello Germanicus miles 
moenibus Cremonensium castra sua, castris vallum 
circumiecerat eaque munimenta rursus auxerat. 
Quorum aspectu haesere victores, incertis ducibus 

^ trucidant /. Gronovhis : trucidati M. 



^ In April of this year, at the time of the first battle of 
Bedriacura. 

372 



BOOK III. xxv.-xxvi. 

reformed, because they were entangled among the 
supply-wagons and artillery. The victorious troops 
in their hasty pursuit were strung out along the 
sides of the road. The carnage was peculiarly 
marked by the fact that in it a son killed his own 
father. The story and the names I shall give on 
the authority of Vipstanus Messala. Julius Man- 
suetus of Spain, when enrolled with the legion 
known as Rapax, had left behind him a young son. 
Later, when this son had grown up, he had been 
conscripted into the Seventh legion by Galba. Now 
he happened to meet his father, whom he wounded 
and struck down ; then, as he looked closely at 
the dying man, the father and son recognized each 
other ; the son embraced his expiring father and 
prayed with tears in his voice that his father's spirit 
would forgive him and not abhor him as a patricide. 
" The crime," he cried, " is the State's ; and what 
does a single soldier count for in civil war?" At 
the same time he lifted up the body and began to 
dig a grave, performing the last duties toward a 
father. The soldiers near first noticed it, presently 
more ; then through the whole line were heard 
cries of wonder, of pity, and of cursing against this 
most horrible war. Yet not one whit did they 
slacken their murder of relatives, kinsmen, and 
brothers. They called the deed a crime but did it. 

XXVI. When they reached Cremona they found 
a new task of enormous difficulty before them. In 
the war against Otho ^ the troops from Germany had 
pitched their camp around the walls of Cremona and 
then had built a rampart around their camp ; these 
defences they had later strengthened. At the sight 
of the fortifications the victorious troops hesitated, 

373 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

quid iuberent. Incipere obpugnationem fesso ^ per 
diem noctemque exercitu arduum at nullo iuxta 
subsidio anceps : sin Bedriaeum redirentj intoleran- 
dus tam longi itineris labor, et victoria ad inritum 
revolvebatur : munire castra, id quoque propinquis 
hostibus formidolosum, ne disperses et opus molientis 
subita eruptione ^ turbarent. Quae super cuncta 
terrebat ipsorum miles periculi quam morae patien- 
tior : quippe ingrata quae tuta, ex temeritate spes ; 
omnisque caedes et vulnera et sanguis aviditate 
praedae pensabantur. 

XXVII. Hue inclinavit Antonius cingique vallum 
corona iussit. Primo sagittis saxisque eminus certa- 
bant, maiore Flavianorum pernicie, in quos tela 
desuper librabantur ; mox vallum portasque legioni- 
bus attribuit, ut discretus labor fortis ignavosque 
distingueret atque ipsa contentione decoris accende- 
rentur. Proxima Bedriacensi viae tertiani septi- 
manique sumpsere, dexteriora valli octava ac septima 
Claudiana ; tertiadecimanos ad Brixianam portam 
impetus tulit. Paulum inde morae, dum ex ' proximis 
agris ligones ^ dolabras et alii falcis scalasque con- 

^ fessos .1/. 

^ subite ruptione M. 

« et J/. 

* ligones Rhenanus : legioueiu M. 

374 



BOOK III. xxvi.-xxvii. 

for their leaders were in doubt what orders to give. 
To begin an attack on the town with troops that 
were exhausted by fighting an entire day and night 
was a difficult undertaking and one of doubtful issue, 
when there were no reserves at hand ; but if they 
returned to Bedriacum, their victory shrank to 
nothing, not to speak of the intolerable burden of 
such a long march. To fortify a camp even, with 
the enemy close at hand, involved the danger 
that the foe might by a sudden sortie cause them 
serious difficulty while their troops were scattered 
and busy with the work. But beyond all these 
things the Flavian leaders feared their own soldiers, 
who were more ready to face danger than delay ; 
the troops detested safe measures and put all their 
hope in rash action. Every disaster, all wounds and 
blood, were outweighed by their greed for booty. 

XXVII. Antonius inclined to meet his troops' 
desires and ordered the investment of the enemy's 
camp. At first they fought at a distance with arrows 
and stones ; but in this contest the Flavians suffered 
the greater loss, for their opponent .shot down upon 
them. Then Antonius assigned to each legion a 
gate or a part of the wall, that the division of labour 
might show who was brave and who cowardly, and 
thus fire the enthusiasm of his troops by making 
them rivals for glory. The sections next the road to 
Bedriacum the Third and Seventh legions took, the 
fortification farther to the right the Eighth and the 
Seventh Claudiana ; tlie Thirteenth assailed the gate 
toward Brixia. Then there followed a brief delay 
while ^ome of the soldiers gathered from the 
neighbouring fields mattocks and picks and others 
brought hooks and ladders. Then the soldiers, 

.^75 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

vectant : turn elatis super capita scutis densa testu- 
dine succedunt. Romanae utrimque artes : pondera 
saxorum Vitelliani provolvunt, disiectam fluitantem- 
que ^ testudinem lanceis contisque ^ scrutantur, donee 
soluta compage scutorum exsanguis aut laceros 
prosternerent multa cum strage. Incesserat cuncta- 
tio, ni duces fesso militi et velutinritas exhortationes 
abnuenti Cremonam monstrassent. 

XXVIII. Hormine id ingeniurrij ut Messala tra- 
ditj an potior auctor sit C. Plinius, qui Antonium 
incusatj haud facile discreverinij nisi quod neque 
Antonius neque Hormus a fama vitaque sua quamvis 
pessimo flagitio degeneravere. Non iam sanguis 
neque vulnera morabantur quin subruerent vallum 
quaterentque portas, innixi umeris et super iteratam 
testudinem scandentes prensarent hostium tela bra- 
chiaque. Integri cum sauciis, semineces cum exspi- 
rantibus volvuntur^ varia pereuntium forma et omni 
imagine mortium. 

XXIX. Acerrimum tertiae septimaeque legionum 
certamen ; et dux Antonius cum delectis auxiliaribus 
eodem incubuerat. Obstinatos inter se cum susti- 
nere Vitelliani nequirent et superiacta tela de^ 
testudine laberentur, ipsam postremo ballistam in 
subeuntis propulere, quae ut ad praesens disiecit 

^ fluvitantemque M. 
^ concitisque M. 
^ add. Halm. 

^ In this formation — the testudo — the soldiers held their 
shields over their heads with the edges overlapping, and they 
were so skilful in this that the roof thus formed was not 
easily broken through. 

* Cf. Verg. Aen. ii. 369, plurima mortis imago. 

376 



BOOK III. xxvii.-xxix. 

raising their shields above their heads, advanced 
under the wall in a close "tortoise" formation. ^ 
Both sides used the familar artifices of Roman war- 
fare : the Vitellians rolled down heavy stones, and 
when they had separated and loosened the cover of 
compact shields, they searched its joints with lances 
and pikes until they broke up .the close structure of 
the " tortoise," and hurled their dead and mangled 
foes to the ground with great slaughter. The 
soldiers would have slackened their assault, for they 
were weary and ready to reject exhortations as idle, 
had not the leaders pointed to Cremona. 

XX VIII. Whether this was the inspiration of 
Hormus, as Messala says, or whether Gaius Pliny, 
who blames Antonius, is the better authority, I cannot 
easily decide ; all I can say is that whether it was 
Antonius or Hormus, this most monstrous crime was 
not unworthy of the life and reputation of either. 
Blood and wounds no longer delajed the soldiers in 
their attempts to undermine the wall and shatter the 
gates; they renewed the " tortoise," and climbing on 
their comrades' shoulders, they mounted on it and 
seized their foes' weapons and arms. The unharmed 
and the wounded, the half-dead and the dying all 
rolled in one mass ; men perished in many ways and 
death took every form.^ 

XXIX. The Third and Seventh legions made the 
most violent assault; and their general, Antonius, 
attacked at the same point with picked auxiliaries. 
When the Vitellian troops could no longer sustain 
this combined and persistent attack, finding that 
their shots slipped off" the " tortoise " without doing 
harm, they finally pushed over their ballista itself on 
the heads of their assailants beneath. This for the 

377 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

obruitque ^ quos inciderat, ita pinnas ac summa valli 
ruina sua traxit ; simul iuncta tiirris ictibus saxorum 
cessit, qua septimani dum nituntur cuneis^ tertianus 
securibus gladiisque portam perfregit. Primum 
inrupisse C. Volusium tertiae legionis militem inter 
omnis auctores constat. Is in vallum egressus, 
deturbatis qui restiterant,^ conspicuus manu ac 
voce cajita castra conclamavit ; ceteri trepidis iam 
Vitellianis seque e vallo praecipitantibus perrupere. 
Completur caede quantum inter castra murosque 
vacui fuit. 

XXX. Ac rursus nova laborum facies : ardua urbis 
moenia, saxeae turres^ ferrati portarum obices, vi- 
brans tela miles, frequens obstrictusque Vitellianis 
partibus Cremonensis populus, magna pars Italiae 
stato in eosdem dies mercatu congregata, quod 
defensoribus auxilium ob multitudinem, obpugnanti- 
bus incitamentum ob praedam erat. Rapi ignis 
Antonius inferrique anioenissimis extra urbem aedi- 
ficiis iubet^ si damno rerum suarum Cremonenses ad 
mutandam fidem traherentur. Propinqua muris tecta 
et altitudinem moenium egressa fortissimo quoque 
militum complet ; illi trabibus tegulisque et facibus 
propugnatores deturbant. 



^ disiecto bruitque .1/. 
^ resisterant M. 



378 



BOOK III. xxiA.-.\xx. 

moment scattered and crushed those on whom it fell, 
but in its fall it dragged down the parapet and the 
upper part of the rampart ; at the same time a 
neighbouring tower gave way before the volleys of 
stones. While men of the Seventh legion pressed 
forward in wedge formation, the Third broke down 
a gate with axes and swords. All authorities agree 
that the first man to rush in was Gaius Volusius, a 
private of the Third legion. He mounted the 
rampart, flung down those who resisted, and before 
the eyes of all, with uplifted hand and voice, cried 
that the camp had been captured ; thereupon the 
rest burst in, while the Vitellians, already in a panic, 
threw themselves from the rampart. All the open 
space between the camp and the walls of Cremona 
was covered with the dead. 

XXX. Now a new difficulty again confronted the 
Flavian troops in the city's high walls, its towers of 
masonry, its iron-barred gates, and the soldiers who 
were brandishing their weapons. Furthermore the 
civil population of Cremona was large and attached 
to the party of Vitellius, while a great part of Italy 
had gathered there to attend a market which fell at 
this time. This great number strengthened the 
defenders, but the possible booty encouraged the 
assailants. Antonius ordered his troops quickly to 
set fire to the finest buildings outside the town, in 
the hope that the people of Cremona might be 
moved by the loss of their property to change their 
allegiance. The roofs of the houses near the walls, 
and particularly those which rose above the city 
ramparts, he filled with his bravest troops ; these 
dislodged the defenders with beams, tiles, and 
firebrands. 

379 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

XXXI. lam legiones in testudinem gloroerabantur, 
et alii tela saxaque incutiebant, cum languescere 
paulatim Vitellianorum animi. Ut quis ordine ante- 
ibat, cedere fortunae, ne Cremona quoque excisa 
nulla ultra venia omnisque ira victoris non in vulgus 
inopSj sed in tribiinos centurionesque, ubi pretium 
caedis erat, reverteretur. Gregarius miles futuri 
socors et ignobilitate tutior perstabat : vagi per vias, 
in domibus abditi pacem ne tum quidem orabant, 
cum bellum posuissent. Primores castrorum nomen 
atque imagines Vitellii amoliuntur ; catenas Caecinae 
(nam etiam tunc vinctus erat) exsolvunt orantque ut 
causae suae deprecator adsistat. Aspernantem tu- 
mentemque lacrimis fatigant, extremum nialorum, tot 
fortissimi viri proditoris opem invocantes ; mox vela- 
menta et infulas pro muris ostentant. Cum Antonius 
inhiberi tela iussisset, signa aquilasque extulere ; 
maestum inermium agmen deiectis in terram oculis 
sequebatur. Circumstiterant victores et prime in- 
gerebant probra, intentabant ictus : mox, ut praeberi 
ora contumeliis et posita omni ferocia cuncta victi 
patiebantur, subit recordatio illos esse quid nuper 

1 Cf. i. 66. 

380 



BOOK III. XXXI. 

XXXI. The legions were already forming a 
" tortoise," while others were beginning to hurl 
spears and stones, when the spirit of the Vitellians 
gradually slackened. The higher a man's rank, the 
readier he was to yield to fortune for fear that if 
Cremona also were caj)tured by assault, there would 
be no more pardon, but that the whole rage of the 
victors would fall not on the penniless mob, but on 
the tribunes and centurions, whose murder meant 
gain. The common soldiers, howev'er, having no 
thought for the future and being better protected 
by their humble position, continued their resistance. 
They wandered through the streets or concealed 
themselves in houses, but did not beg for peace even 
when they had given up fighting. The chief officers 
removed the name and statues of Vitellius from 
headquarters ; they took off Caecina's fetters — for 
even at that time he was kept a prisoner — and 
begged him to plead their cause. When he 
haughtily refused they besought him with tears ; 
all these brave men, and this was the uttermost of 
their ills, invoked the aid of a traitor. Presently 
they displayed hangings and fillets on the walls 
as signs of their submission.^ After Antonius had 
ordered his men to cease firing, they brought out 
their standards and eagles ; a sad line of unarmed 
men followed, their eyes cast upon the ground. 
The victorious troops stood about, heaping insults 
upon them and threatening them with blows; later 
when the defeated troops offered their faces to 
every indignity, and without a spark of courage left 
in them were ready to suffer anything, the victors 
began to remember that these were the troops who 
had recently shown moderation after they had won 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Bedriaci victoriae tempei'assent. Set! ubi Caecina 
praetexta lictoribusque insigniSj dimota turba^ consul 
incessit^ exarsere victores : superbiam saevitiamque 
(adeo invisa scelera sunt), etiam perfidiani obiecta- 
bant. Obstitit Antonius datisque defensovibus ad 
Vespasianum dimisit. 

XXXII. Plebs interim Cremonensium inter arma- 
tos conflictabatur ; nee procul caede aberant, cum 
precibus ducum mitigatus est miles. Et vocatos ad 
contionem Antonius adloquitur, magnifice victores, 
victos clementer, de Cremona in neutrum. Exer- 
citus praeter insitam praedandi cupidinem vetere 
odio ad excidium Cremonensium incubuit. luvisse 
partis Vitellianas Othonis quoque bello credebantur ; 
mox tertiadecimanos ad extruendum amphitheatrura 
relictos, ut sunt procacia urbanae plebis ingenia, 
petulantibus iurgiis inluserant. Auxit invidiam 
editum illic a Caecina gladiatorum spectaculum 
eademque rursus belli sedes et praebiti in acie V'itel- 
lianis cibi, caesae quaedam feminae studio partium 
ad proelium progressae ; tempus quoque mercatus 
ditem alioqui coloniam maiore opum specie comple- 
bat. Ceteri duces in obscuro : Antonium fortuna 



1 That is, in his robes of office. 

2 Cf. ii. 67. 



382 



BOOK III. xxxi.-xxxii. 

at Bedriacum. Yet when Caecina appeared, in the 
role of consul, dressed in the toga praetexta^ and 
escorted by his lictors whoput aside the crowd before 
him, the victors' rage blazed forth : they taunted him 
with arrogance, cruelty, and — so hateful are crimes — ■ 
even with perfidy. Antonius interposed, gave him a 
guard, and sent him to Vespasian. 

XXXII. In the meantime the people of Cremona 
were buffeted about among the troops, and there 
came near being a massacre, when the commanders 
by their appeals succeeded in calming the soldiers. 
Then Antonius called them together and spoke in 
warmest eulogy of the victors ; the conquered he 
addressed in kindly terms ; but he said nothing for 
or against Cremona. The troops, prompted not only 
by their ingrained desire for plunder, but also by 
their old hatred, were bent on destroying the people 
of the town. They believed that they had helped 
the party of V^itellius in the war with Otho as well ; 
and later the common people of the town (for the 
mob always has an insolent nature) had insulted and 
taunted the soldiers of the Thirteenth legion who 
had been left behind to finish the amphitheatre.^ 
The troops' anger was increased by other causes as 
well : Caecina had given an exhibition of gladiators 
there ; the town had twice been the seat of 
war ; the townspeople had provided food for the 
Vitellians when they were actually in battle-line ; 
and some women had been killed who had been 
carried by their zeal for Vitellius's side into the very 
battle ; besides this the market season had filled the 
colony, always rich, with a greater show of wealth. 
Now the other commanders were little noticed ; but 
fame and fortune had made Antonius conspicuous to 

383 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

famaque omnium oculis exposuerat. Is balineas 
abluendo cruori propere petit. Excepta vox est, 
cum teporem incusaret, statim futurum ut incalesce- 
rent^: vernile dictum omnem invidiam in eum vertit, 
tamquam signum incendendae Cremonae dedisset, 
quae iam flagrabat. 

XXXIII. Quadragintii armatorum milia inrupere, 
calonum lixarumque amplior numerus et in libidinem 
ac saevitiam corruption Non dignitas, non aetas 
protegebat quo minus stupra caedibus^ caedes stupris 
miscerentur. Grandaevos senes, exacta aetate 
feminaSj vilis ad praedam, in ludibrium trahebant : 
ubi adulta virgo aut quis forma conspicuus incidisset, 
vi manibusque rapientium divulsus ipsos postremo 
direptores in mutuam perniciem agebat. Dum 
pecuniam vel gravia auro templorum dona sibi quis- 
que trahunt, maiore aliorum vi truncabantur. Qui- 
dam obvia aspernati verberibus tormentisque domi- 
norum abdita scrutari, defossa ernere : faces in 
manibus, quas, ubi praedam egesserant, in vacuas 
domos et inania templa per lasciviam iaculabantur ; 
utque exercitu vario linguis moribus^ cui cives socii 
extevni interessent, diversae cupidines et aliud 
cuique fas nee quicquam inlicitum. Per quadriduum 

^ incalescerent ed. Spirensis : inalesceret M. 
384 



BOOK III. xxxii.-xxxiii. 

the eyes of all. He hurried to some baths to wash 
away the blood with which he was covered. When 
he complained of the temperature, a voice was heard 
saying that they would soon be hot enough. This 
answer of some slave turned all the odium of wliat 
followed on Antonius, as if he had given the signal 
to burn Cremona, which was indeed at that moment 
in flames. 

XXXIII. Forty thousand armed men burst into 
the town ; the number of camp-followers and servants 
was even greater, and they were more ready to 
indulge in lust and cruelty. Neither rank nor years 
protected anyone ; their assailants debauched and 
killed without distinction. Aged men and women 
near the end of life, though despised as booty, were 
dragged off" to be the soldiers' sport. Whenever a 
young woman or a handsome youth fell into their 
hands, they were torn to pieces by the violent 
struggles of those who tried to secure them, and this 
in the end drove the despoilers to kill one another. 
Individuals tried to carry off for themselves money 
or the masses of gold dedicated in the tem})les, but 
they were assailed and slain by others stronger than 
themselves. Some, scorning the booty before their 
eyes, flogged and tortured the owners to discover 
hidden wealth and dug up buried treasure. They 
carried firebrands in their hands, and when they had 
secured their loot, in utter wantonness they threw 
these into the vacant houses and empty temples. In 
this army there were many passions corresponding 
to the variety of speech and customs, for it was made 
up of citizens, allies, and foreigners ; no two held the 
same thing sacred and there was no crime which 
was held unlawful. For four days did Cremona 

385 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Cremona sufTecit, Cum omnia sacra profanaque in 
ignem'^ considerent, solum Mefitis templum stetit 
ante moenia, loco seu numine defensum. 

XXXIV. Hie exitus Cremonae anno ducentesimo 
octogesimo sexto a primordio sui. Condita erat Ti.^ 
Sempronio P. Cornelio consulibus, ingruente in 
Italian! Annibale, propugnaculum adversus Gallos 
trans Padum agentis et si qua alia vis per Alpis 
rueret. Igitur numero colonorum, opportunitate 
fluminum, ubere agri, adnexu conubiisque gentium 
adolevit floruitque, bellis externis intacta^ civilibus 
infelix. Antonius pudore flagitii, crebrescente in- 
vidia, edixit ne quis Cremonensem captivum detineret. 
Inritamque praedam militibus effecerat consensus 
Italiae, emptionem talium mancipiorum aspernantis : 
ocoidi coepere ; quod ubi enotuit, a propinquis ad- 
finibusque occulte redemptabantur. Mox rediit 
Cremonam reliquus populus : reposita fora templaque 
magnificentia municipum ; et Vespasianus horta- 
batur. 

XXXV^. Ceterum adsidere sepultae urbis ruinis 
noxia tabo humus baud diu permisit. Ad tertium 
lapidem progressi vagos paventisque Vitellianos, sua 

^ ignem Heinsius : igne M. 
2 Ti. Lipsius: T. M. 



^ The goddess of malaria, whose ravages in the vallej- of 
the Po must have been serious in antiquity. 
» 218 B.C. 

386 



BOOK III. xxxiii.-xxxv. 

supply food for destruction. When everything sacred 
and profene sank into the flames, there stood solitary 
outside the walls the temple of Mefitis,^ protected 
by eitiier its position or its deity. 

XXXIV. Such was the fate of Cremona in the 
two hundred and eighty-sixth year .ifter its founda- 
tion. It was established in the consulship of 
Tiberius Sempronius and Publius Cornelius,- at the 
time when Hannibal was threatening Italy, to be a 
bulwark of defence against the Transjiadane Gauls 
and to prevent any possible invasion over the Alps. 
The large number of colonists sent there, the 
advantages given by its navigable streams, the 
fertility of its land, as well as the connections 
established with other peoples by intermarriage and 
alliance, all combined to make the colony increase 
and prosi)er ; untouched in foreign wars, it found 
misfortune in civil strife. Antonius, ashamed of his 
atrocious crime, as public indignation grew, issued a 
proclamation forbidding anj^one to keep a citizen of 
Cremona captive. In fact, the common feeling of all 
Italy had already made the soldiers' booty valueless, 
for all Italians loathed the idea of buying slaves like 
these. The soldiers then began to kill their captives ; 
when this became known, they were secretly ran- 
somed by their relatives and kin. Later the remnant 
of the people returned to Cremona ; the fora and 
the temples were restored by the munificence of its 
citizens ; and Vespasian encouraged such action. 

XXXV\ However, the infection that pervaded the 
bloodstained ground did not allow the army to 
encamp long by the ruins of this dead city. The 
Flavian forces moved to the third milestone ; the 
straggling and terrified Vitellians were reorganized, 

387 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

quemque apud signa, componunt ; et victae legiones, 
ne manente adhuc civili bello ambigue agerent, per 
Illyricum dispersae. In Biitanniam inde et His- 
panias nuntios famamque, in Galliam lulium Calenum 
tribunum, in Germaniam Alpinium Montanum prae- 
fectum cohortiSj quod hie Trevir, Calenus Aeduus^ 
uterque Vitelliani fuerant, ostentui misere. Simul 
transitus Alpium praesidiis occupati, suspecta Ger- 
mania, tamquam in auxilium Vitellii accingeretur. 

XXXVI. At Vitellius profecto Caecina, cum 
Fabium Valentem paucis post diebus ad bellum 
impulisset, curis luxum obtendebat ; non parare 
arma, non adloquio exercitioque militem firmare, non 
in ore vulgi agere, sed umbraculis hortorum abditus, 
ut ignava animalia, quibus si cibum suggeras, iacent 
torpentque, praeterita instantia futura pari oblivione 
dimiserat. Atque ilium in nemore Aricino desidem 
et marcentem proditio Lucilii Bassi ac defectio classis 
Ravennatis perculit ; nee multo post de Caecina 
adfertur mixtus gaudio dolor et descivisse et ab 
exercitu vinctum. Plus apud socordem animum 
laetitia quam cura valuit. Multa cum exultatione in 
urbem revectus frequenti contione pietatem militum 

^ Tacitus resumes his uarrative from ii. 101. 
388 



BOOK III. xxxv.-xxxvi. 

each man under his own colours ; and the defeated 
legions were distributed through Illyricum to keep 
them from any doubtful action, for civil war was not 
yet over. The Flavian leaders then despatched 
messengers to carry the news to Britain and to 
Spain ; to Gaul they sent Julius Calenus, a tribune, 
and to Germany Apinius Montanus, a prefect of a 
cohort. The latter being a Trevir and Calenus an 
Aeduan, but both Vitellians, they were despatched 
to advertise the Flavians' victory. At the same time 
the Flavian forces occupied the passes of the Alps, 
for they suspected Germany of preparing to help 
Vitellius. 

XXXVI. A few days after Caecina had left Rome,^ 
Vitellius, having succeeded in driving Fabius Valens 
to the war, began to conceal his anxieties by giving 
himself up to pleasures. He took no steps to pro- 
vide weapons, he did not try to inspire his troops by 
addressing them or by having them drilled, nor did he 
appear before the people. He kept hidden in the 
shade of his gardens, like those lazy animals that lie 
inactive and never move so long as you give them 
abundant food. The past, the present, and the 
future alike he had dismissed completely from his 
mind. He was actually lounging in indolence in 
the woods at Aricia when he was startled by the 
report of the treachery of Lucilius Bassus and of the 
revolt of the fleet at Ravenna. Shortly afterwards 
the report that Caecina had gone over to Vespasian 
but had been arrested by his troops caused Vitellius 
both delight and sorrow. It was tlie joy rather than 
the anxiety that had the greater influence on his 
sluggish spirit. In high exultation he rode back to 
the city, and in a crowded assembly extolled to the 

389 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

laudibus cumulat ; Publilium Sabinum praetorii 
praefectum ob amicitiam Caecinae vinciri iubet, 
substituto in locum eius Alfeno Varo. 

XXXVII. Mox senatum composita in magnificen- 
tiam oratione adlocutus, exquisitis patrum adulationi- 
bus attoUitur. Initium atrocis in Caecinam sententiae 
a L. Vitellio factum ; dein ceteri composita indigna- 
tione, quod consul rem publicam, dux imperatorem, 
tantis opibus tot honoribus cumulatus amicum prodi- 
disset, velut pro Vitellio conquerentes, suum dolorem 
proferebant. Nulla in oratione cuiusquam erga 
Flavianos duces obtrectatio : errorem imprudentiam- 
que exercituum culpantes, Vespasiani nomen suspensi 
et vitabundi circumibant, nee defuit qui unum con- 
sulatus diem (is enim in locum Caecinae supererat) 
magno cum inrisu tribuentis accipientisque eblandi- 
retur.^ Pridie kalendas Novembris Rosius Regulus 
iniit eiuravitque. Adnotabant periti numquam antea 
non abrogate magistratu neque lege lata alium 
suff'ectum ; nam consul uno die et ante fuerat 
Caninius Rebilus C. Caesare dictatore, cum belli 
civilis praemia festinarentur. 

XXX\'III. Nota per eos dies lunii Blacsi mors et 

^ eblandiretur lihenanus : blandiretur J/. 

^ Varus had been hitherto prefect of the camp. Cf. ii. 29. 

^ Caecina had been appointed consul for September and 
October, and evidently the news of his defection reached 
Rome about October 29 or 30. He was not removed from 
office, but his treacherous act was apparently regarded as 
vacating the office. 

39° 



BOOK III. XXXVI. -XXXVIII. 

skies the devoted loyalty of his soldiers ; then he 
ordered the arrest of Publilius Sabinus, prefect of 
the Praetorian guard^ because he was Caecina's 
friend, appointing Alfenus Varus ^ in his place. 

XXX VI I. Later he addressed the senate in a 
grandiloquent speech, and was himself extolled 
by the senate with most elaborate flattery. Lucius 
Vitellius took the lead in proposing severe measures 
directed against Caecina ; then the rest with feigned 
indignation, because, " as consul he had betrayed 
the State, as general his emperor, as a friend the 
one who had loaded him with wealth and honours," 
under the form of complaints in behalf of Vitellius 
expressed their own resentment. But in no speech 
was there any attack on the Flavian leaders. While 
the senators blamed the troops for their errors and 
lack of wisdom, they carefully and cautiously avoided 
mentioning Vespasian's name ; and indeed there was 
one senator found to wheedle from Vitellius the one 
day of Caecina's consulship that was left^ — a thing 
which brought many a sneer on both giver and 
receiver. On the thirty-first of October Rosius 
Regulus entei'ed and gave up his office. The learned 
noted that never before had one consul succeeded 
another unless the office had first been declared 
vacant or a law duly passed. There had indeed been 
a consul for a single day once before : that was the 
case of Caninius Rebilus in the dictatorship of Gains 
Caesar, when Caesar was in haste to pay the rewards 
of civil war.3 

XXXVI IL The death of Junius Blaesus, becoming 

' When Caninius Rebilus was made consul on the after- 
noon of the last day of 45 B.C. See Cicero, ad. Fam. vii. 
30. 1. 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

famosa fuit, de qua sic accepiraus. Gravi corporis 
morbo aeger Vitellius Servilianis hortis turrim vicino 
sitam conlucere per noctem crebris luminibus ani- 
madvertit. Sciscitanti causam apud Caecinam Tuscum 
epulari multos, praecipuum honore lunium Blaesum 
nuntiatur ; cetera in maius, de apparatu et solutis in 
lasciviam animis. Nee defuere qui ipsum Tuscum et 
aliosj ged criminosius Blaesum incusarent, quod aegro 
principe laetos dies ageret. Ubi asperatum Vitellium 
et posse Blaesum perverti satis patuit iis qui princi- 
pum offensas acriter speculantur, datae L. Vitellio 
delationis partes. Ille infensus Blaeso aemulatione 
prava, quod eum omni dedecore maculosum egregia 
fama anteibat, cubiculum imperatoris reserat, filium 
eius sinu complexus et genibus accidens. Causam 
confusionis quaerenti, non se proprio metu nee sui 
anxium, sed pro fratre, pro liberis fratris preces 
lacrimasque attulisse. Frustra Vespasianum timeri, 
quem tot Germanicae legiones, tot provinciae 
virtute ac fide, tantum denique terrarum ac maris 
immensis spatiis arceat : in urbe ac sinu cavendum 
hostem, lunios Antoniosque avos iactantem, qui 
se stirpe imperatoria comem ac magnificum mili- 

1 Cf. ii. 59. 
392 



BOOK III. xxxvni. 

known at the time, caused much gossip.^ The story, 
as we learn it, is this. When Vitellius was seriously 
ill in the gardens of Servilius, he noticed that a 
tower near by was brilliantly lighted at night. On 
asking the reason he was told that Caecina Tuscus 
was giving a large dinner at which Junius Blaesus 
was the guest of honour ; and his informants went 
on to exaggerate the elaborate preparations made 
for this dinner and to speak of the guests' extrava- 
gant enjoyment. There was no lack of men ready 
to accuse Tuscus and others ; but they blamed 
Blaesus most severely because he spent his days in 
pleasure while his emperor was sick. When the 
people, who have a keen eye for the angry moods 
of princes, saw that Vitellius was exasperated and 
that Blaesus could be destroyed, Lucius Vitellius 
was assigned the role of informant. His hatred for 
Blaesus sprang from base jealousy, for, stained as he 
was by every infamy, Blaesus surpassed him by his 
eminent reputation. So now, bursting into the 
emperor's bedroom, Lucius embraced the son of 
Vitellius and fell on his knees. When Vitellius asked 
the reason for his trepidation, Lucius replied that he 
had no personal fear and was not anxious for himself, 
but that it was on behalf of his brother and his 
brother's children that he brought his prayers and 
tears. "There is no point," he said, "in fearing 
Vespasian, whose approach is blocked by all the 
German legions, by all the brave and loyal provinces, 
and in short by boundless stretches of sea and land. 
The enemy against whom you must be on your 
guard is in the city, in your own bosom : he boasts 
that the Junii and Antonii are his ancestors ; and, 
claiming imperial descent, he parades before the 

393 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

tibus ostentet. Versas illuc omnium mentis, dum 
Vitellius amicorum inimicorumque neglegens fovet 
aemulum pvincipis labores e convivio prospectantem. 
Reddendam pro intempestiva laetitia maestam et 
funebrem noctem, qua sciat et sentiat vivere Vi- 
tellium et imperare et, si quid fato accidat, filium 
habere. 

XXXIX. Trepidanti inter scelus metumquCj ne 
dilata Blaesi mors maturam perniciem, palam iussa 
atrocem invidiam ferret, placuit veneno grassari ; 
addidit facinori fidem notabili ^ gaudio, Blaesum 
visendo. Quin et audita est saevissima VitelUi vox 
qua se (ipsa enim verba referani) pavisse oculos 
spectata inimici morte iactavit. Blaeso super clari- 
tatem natalium et elegantiam morum fidei obstinatio 
fuit. Integris quoque rebus a Caecina et primoribus 
partium iam Vitellium aspernantibus ambitus abnuere 
perseveravit. Sanctus, inturbidus, nuUius repentini 
honoris, adeo non principatus adpetens, parum 
effugerat ne dignus crederetur. 

XL. Fabius interim Valens multo ac molli con- 
cubinarum spadonumque agmine segnius quam ad 
bell urn incedens, proditam a Lucilio Basso Ravenna- 
tem classem pernicibus nuntiis accepit. Et si coep- 

^ notabili Facrnus • nobili M. 
394 



BOOK III. xxxviii.-XL. 

soldiers his courtesy and magnificence. Everyone's 
thoughts are attracted to him, while you, failing to 
distinguish between friend and foe, cherish a rival 
who watches his emperor's distress from a dinner- 
table. To pay him for his unseasonable joy, he 
should suffer a night of sorrow and doom, that he 
may know and feel that Vitellius is alive and 
emperor, and furthermore that, if any misfortune 
happens to him, he still has a son." 

XXXIX. An.Kiously hesitating between crime and 
the fear that, if delayed, the death of Blaesus might 
bring prompt ruin or, if openly ordered, a storm of 
hate, Vitellius decided to resort to poison. He gave 
the public reason to believe in his guilt by his 
evident joy when he went to see Blaesus. More- 
over, lie was heard to make a brutal remark, 
boasting — and I shall quote his very words — that 
he had "feasted his eyes on the sight of his enemy's 
death-bed.'' Blaesus was a man not only of dis- 
tinguished family and of refinement, but also of 
resolute loyalty. Even while the position of Vitellius 
was still unshaken, he had been solicited by Caecina 
and the party leaders who already despised the 
emperor, but he persisted in rejecting their advances. 
Honourable, opposed to revolution, moved by no 
desire for sudden honours, least of all for the princi- 
pate, he could not escape being regarded as worthy 
of it. 

XL. Fabius Valens in the meantime, with his long 
effeminate train of concubines and eunuchs, moved 
on too slowly for a general going out to war. On 
his way he heard from messengers who came in 
haste, that Lucius Bassus had betrayed the fleet at 
Ravenna to the Flavians. Yet if he had hurried, he 

395 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

turn iter properasset, nutantera Caecinam praevenire 
aut ante discrimen pugnae adsequilegiones potuisset. 
Nee deerant qui monerent ut cum fidissimis per 
occultos tramites vitata Ravenna Hostiliam Cremo- 
namve pergeret ; aliis placebat accitis ex urbe prae- 
toriis cohortibus valida manu perrumpere. Ipse 
inutili cunctatione agendi tempora consultando 
consumpsit ; mox utrumque consilium aspernatus, 
quod inter ancipitia deterrimum est, dum media 
sequitur, nee ausus est satis nee providit. 

XLI. Missis ad Vitellium litteris auxilium postulat. 
Venere tres cohortes cum ala Britannica, neque ad 
fallendum aptus numerus neque ad penetrandum. 
Sed Valens ne in tanto quidem discrimine infamia 
caruit, quo minus rapere inlicitas voluptates adulteri- 
isque ac stupris polluere liospitum domus crederetur : 
aderant vis et pecunia et ruentis fortunae novissima 
libido. Adventu demum peditum equitumque pra- 
vitas consilii patuit, quia nee vadere per bostis tam 
parva manu poterat, etiam si fidissima foret, nee 
integram fidem attulerant ; pudor tamen et praesentis 
duels reverentia morabatur, baud diuturna vincla 
apud pavidos ^ periculorum et dedecoris securos. 
Eo metu cobortes Ariminum praemittit, alam tueri 
terga iubet : ipse paucis, quos adversa non mutaverant, 

^ pavidos Faernus : avidos M. 
* Rimini. 



BOOK III. xL.-xLi. 

might have stopped Caecina, who was still wavering ; 
or at least he could have reached the legions before 
the decisive battle. Some advised him to take his 
most trusty men and, avoiding Ravenna, to push on 
by secret roads to Hostilia or Cremona ; others 
favoured summoning the praetorian cohorts from 
Rome and then breaking through with a strong 
force. But Valens by useless delay wasted in dis- 
cussion the time for action ; later he rejected both 
the plans proposed, and in following a middle course 
— the worst of all policies in times of doubt — he 
showed neither adequate courage nor foresight. 

XLI. He wrote to Vitellius asking for help. 
Three cohorts and a squadron of cavalry from 
Britain came in response, a force whose size was 
ill-suited either to escape observation or to force 
a passage. But even in such a crisis Valens did 
not avoid the infamy of snatching illicit pleasures 
and polluting with adulteries and debaucheries the 
homes of those who entertained him : he had 
power, money, and, as fortune failed, the lust of 
the last hour. When the foot and horse finally 
arrived, the folly of his plan became evident, because 
he could not make his way through the enemy's 
lines with so small a band, no matter how faithful, 
and, in fact, they did not bring a loyalty that was 
wholly unshaken. Still shame and awe in the 
presence of their commander held them back ; but 
these are weak restraints over men who are fearful 
of danger and regardless of disgrace. Accordingly, in 
his alarm, he sent the cohorts on to Ariminum,^ and 
ordered the squadron of cavalry to protect his rear. 
He himself turned aside into Umbi'ia with a few 
companions whose loyalty had not been changed by 

397 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

comitantibus flexit ^ in Umbriam atque inde Etruriam, 
ubi cognito pugnae Cremonensis eventu non ignavuni 
et, si provenisset, atrox consilium iniit, ut arreptis 
navibus in quamcumque partem Narbonensis pro- 
vinciae egressus Gal lias et exercitus et Germaniae 
gentis novumque bellum cieret. 

XLII. Digresso Valente trepidos, qui Ariminum 
tenebant, Cornelius Fuscus, admoto exercitu et 
missis per proxima litorum Liburnicis, terra marique 
circumvenit : occupantur plana Umbriae et qua 
Picenus ager Hadria adluitur, omnisque Italia inter 
Vespasianum ac Vitellium Appennini ^ iugis divide- 
batur. Fabius Valens e sinu Pisano segnitia maris 
aut adversante vento portum Herculis Monoeci 
depellitur. Hand procul inde agebat Marias Matu- 
rus Alpium maritimarum procurator, fidus Vitellio, 
cuius sacramentum cunctis circa hostilibus nondum 
exuerat. Is Valentem comiter exceptum, ne Galliam 
Narbonensem temere ingrederetur, monendo terruit ; 
simul ceterorum fides metu infracta. 

XLII I. Namque circumiectas civitates procurator 
Valerius Paulinus, strenuus militiae et Vespasiano 
ante fortunam amicus, in verba eius adegerat ; con- 
citisque omnibus, qui exauctorati a \'itellio bellum 

^ eo metu et paucis . . . comitantibus cohortes . . . ipse 
flexit M : verum ordinem rest. Acidalivs. 
^ Appennini Puteolanvs : appenninis M. 

^ Now in command of the fleet at Ravenna. Cf. iii. 12. 
2 Monaco. 

398 



BOOK III. xLi.-xLui. 

adversity, and from Umbria he moved into Etruria. 
There, hearing the result of the battle at Cremona, 
he formed a plan which was not cowardly and which 
would have been formidable if it had only succeeded : 
he proposed to seize some ships, land somewhere on 
the coast of the province of Narbonne, and then 
rouse the Gallic jirovinces, the armies, and the tribes 
of Germany — in fact to begin a new war. 

XLII. Valens' departure made the troops at Arimi- 
num anxious and timid. Cornelius Fuscus ^ brought 
up his land forces and sent light men-of-war along the 
neighbouring coast and thereby cut the garrison oft' 
by land and sea. The Flavians now held the plains 
of Umbria and that part of Picenum that is washed 
by the Adriatic ; in fact, all Italy was divided between 
Vespasian and Vitellius by the range of the Apen- 
nines. Fabius Valens sailed from the harbour of Pisa, 
but was forced by calm or by head winds to put in at 
the port of Hercules Monoecus.^ Marius Maturus, 
procurator of the Maritime Alps, was not far from 
here ; he was still faithful to Vitellius, not having 
yet abandoned his oath of allegiance to him although 
all the districts round about were hostile. He 
received Valens kindly, and persuaded him by his 
advice not to risk entering Narbonese Gaul. At the 
same time the fidelity of the rest was shaken by their 
feai's. 

XLII I. There was reason for this, since the 
imperial agent, Valerius Paulinus, a vigorous soldier 
and a friend of Vespasian even before his great 
fortune befell him, had bound the neighbouring 
communities by an oath of allegiance to him. 
Paulinus had also called out all the veterans who had 
been discharged by Vitellius, but now freely took up 

399 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

sponte suraebant, Foroiuliensem coloniam, claustra 
maris, praesidio tuebatur, eo gravior auctor, quod 
Paulino patria Forum lulii et honos apud prae- 
torianos, quorum quondam tribunus fuerat, ipsique 
pagani favore municipali et futurae potentiae spe 
iuvare partis adnitebantur. Quae ut^ paratu firma 
et aucta rumore apud varios Vitellianorum animos 
inerebruere, Fabius Valens cum quattuor specula- 
toribus et tribus amicis, totidem centurionibus, ad 
navis regreditur ; Maturo ceterisque remanere et in 
verba Vespasiani adigi volentibus fuit. Ceterum ut 
mare tutius Valenti quam litora aut urbes, ita futuri 
ambiguus et magis quid vitaret quam cui fideret 
certus, adversa tempestate Stoechadas Massiliensium 
insulas defertur.^ Ibi eum missae a Paulino Libur- 
nicae oppressere. 

XLIV. Capto Valente cuncta ad victoris opes 
conversa, initio per Hispaniam a prima ^ Adiutrice 
legione orto, quae memoria Othonis infensa Vitellio 
decimam quoque ac sextam traxit. Nee Galliae 
cunctabantur. Et Britanniam inclinatus ^ erga Ves- 
pasianum favor, quod illic secundae legioni a Claudio 
praepositus et bello clarus egerat, non sine motu 
adiunxit ceterarum, in quibus plerique centuriones 

^ ut Jacob : vi M. 

^ defertur Erncsli : adfertur M. 

' hispania adprima M. 

* inclinatus Schiitz : inditus Af. 



1 Cf. ii. 67. 2 Frejus. 

' Les lies d'H^-eres, near Toulon. 



400 



BOOK III. xLiii.-xLiv. 

arms again ; ^ and he kept a garrison in Forum Julii,^ 
which controls the sea here, while his authority was 
increased by the fact that Forum Julii was his 
native city and that he was esteemed by the 
praetorians, whose tribune he had once been. Also 
the people of the district, moved by zeal for a fellow- 
townsman and by hope of his future power, did their 
best to help his party. When these preparations, 
which were effective and were exaggerated by rumour, 
were reported again and again to the Vitellians, 
whose minds were already in doubt, Fabius Valens 
returned to his ships with four soldiers of the body- 
guard, three friends, and three centurions ; Maturus 
and the rest chose to remain and take the oath of 
fidelity to Vespasian. But while the sea seemed to 
Valens safer than shores or cities, he was still doubt- 
ful of the future and saw more clearly what to avoid 
than what to trust. An adverse storm drove him to 
the Stoechadae islands belonging to the Massilians,' 
whei'e he was captured by some light galleys which 
Paulinus sent after him. 

XLIV. Now that Valens was captured everything 
turned to the victor's advantage. The movement in 
Spain was begun by the First legion Adjutrix, which 
was devoted to the memory of Otho and so hostile to 
Vitellius. This legion drew the Tenth and Sixth 
after it. The Gallic provinces did not hesitate. In 
Britain a favourable sentiment inclined toward 
Vespasian, because he had been put in command of 
the Second legion there by Claudius and had dis- 
tinguished himself in the field. This secured the 
island for him, but only after some resistance on the 
part of the other legions, in which there were many 
centurions and soldiers who owed their promotions to 

401 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

ac milites a \'itellio provecti ex[)ertum iam principem 
anxii mutabant. 

XLV\ Ea discordia et crebris belli civilis rumoribus 
Britanni sustulere animos auctore Venutio, qui super 
insitam ferociam et Romani nominis odium propriis 
in Cartimanduani reginam stimulis accendebatur. 
Cartimandua Brigantibus imperitabat, pollens nobili- 
tate ; et auxerat potentiam, postquam capto per 
dolum rege Caiataco instruxisse triumphum Claudii 
Caesaris videbatur. Inde opes et rerum secundarum 
luxus : spreto Venutio (is fuit maritus) armigerum 
eius Vellocatum in matrimonium regnumque accepit. 
Concussa statim flagitio domus : pro niarito studia 
civitatis, pro adultero libido reginae et saevitia. 
Igitur Venutius accitis auxiliis, simul ipsorum 
Brigantum defectione in extremum discrimen Carti- 
manduam adduxit. Turn petita a Romanis praesidia. 
Et cohortes alaeque nostrae variis proeliis, exeraere 
tamen periculo reginam ; regnum Venutio, bellum 
nobis relictum. 

XLVI. Turbata per eosdem dies Germania, et 
socordia ducum, seditione legionum, externa vi, 

^ Celebrated in 51 A. D. See Tacitus, ^ /in. xii. 33-37 ; CIL. 
vi. 920. 

402 



BOOK III. XLIV.-XLVI. 

Vitellius, and so hesitated to change from an emperor 
of whom they had aheady had some experience. 

XLV. Inspired by these differences between the 
Roman forces and by the many rumours of civil 
war that reached them, the Britons plucked up 
courage under the leadership of Venutius, who, in 
addition to his natural spirit and hatred of the Roman 
name, was fired by his ])ersonal resentment toward 
Queen Cartimandua. She was ruler over the 
Brigantes, having the influence that belongs to high 
birth, and she had later strengthened her power 
when she was credited with having captured King 
Caratacus by treachery and so furnished an adorn- 
ment for the triumph of Claudius Caesar.^ From this 
came her wealth and the wanton s})irit which success 
breeds. She grew to despise her husband Venutius, 
and took as her consort his squire Vellocatus, whom 
she admitted to share the throne with her. Her 
house was at once shaken by this scandalous act. 
Her husband was favoured by the sentiments of all 
the citizens ; the adulterer was supported by the 
queen's passion for him and by her savage spirit. So 
Venutius, calling in aid from outside and at the same 
time assisted by a revolt of the Brigantes themselves, 
put Cartimandua into an extremely dangerous 
j)osition. Then she asked the Romans for protec- 
tion, and in fact some companies of our foot and 
horse, after meeting with indifferent success in a 
number of engagements, finally succeeded in rescuing 
the queen from danger. The throne was left to 
Venutius ; the war to us. 

XLV^I. At the same time there was trouble in 
Germany. Indeed the Roman cause almost suffered 
disaster because of the negligence of the generals, 

403 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

perfidia sociali prope adflicta Romana res. Id bellum 
cum causis et eventibus (etenim longius provectum 
est) mox memorabimus. Mota et Dacorum gens 
numquam fida, tunc sine metu, abducto e Moesia 
exercitu. Sed prima rerum quieti speculabantur : 
ubi flagrare Italian! bello, cuncta in vicem liostilia 
accepere, expugnatis cohortium alarumque hibernis 
utraque Danuvii ripa potiebantur. lamque castra 
legionum excindere parabant, ni Mucianus sextam 
legionem opposuisset, Cremonensis victoriae gnarus, 
ac ne externa moles utrimque ingrueret, si Dacus 
Germanusque diversi inrupissent. Adfuit, ut saepe 
alias, fortuna popiili Romani, quae Mucianum viris- 
que Orientis illuc tulit, et quod Cremonae interim 
transegimus. Fonteius Agrippa ex Asia (pro consule 
eam provinciam annuo imperio tenuerat) Moesiae 
praepositus est, additis copiis e Vitelliano exercitu, 
quern spargi per provincias et externo bello inligari 
pars consilii pacisque erat. 

XLVII. Nee ceterae nationes silebant. Subita 
per Pontum arma barbarum mancipium, regiae 



' Tacitus fulfils his promise in iv. 12-37, 54-79, and in v. 
14-26. 

* Living in what is now Rumania. 

' The legionaries having been withdrawn from the bank 
of the Danube, it was now defended by the auxiliaries 
alone. 

404 



BOOK III. xLvi.-xLvii. 

the mutinous spirit of the legions, the assaults from 
without the empire, and the treachery of our allies. 
The history of this war with its causes and results we 
shall give later, for the struggle was a long one.^ 
The Dacians ^ also, never trustworthy, became uneasy 
and now had no fear, for our army had been with- 
drawn from Moesia. They watched the first events 
without stirring ; but when they heard that Italy was 
aflame with war and that the whole empire was 
divided into hostile camps, they stormed the winter 
quarters of our auxiliary foot and horse ^ and put them- 
selves in possession of both banks of the Danube. 
They were already preparing to destroy the camps of 
the legions, and would have succeeded in their 
purpose if Mucianus had not placed the Sixth legion 
across their path. He took this step because he had 
learned of the victory at Cremona, and he also feared 
that two hordes of foreigners might come down upon 
the empire, if the Dacians and the Germans should 
succeed in breaking in at different points. As so 
often before, the fortune of the Roman people 
attended them, bringing, as it had, Mucianus and the 
forces of the East to that point and securing mean- 
time the success at Cremona. Fonteius Agrippa was 
transferred from Asia, where, as proconsul, he had 
governed the province for a year, and put in charge 
of Moesia ; there he was given additional troops from 
the army of Vitellius, which it was wise from the 
point of view of both policy and peace to distribute 
in the provinces and to involve in war with a foreign 
foe. 

XLVII. Nor were the other nations quiet. There 
was a sudden armed uprising in Pontus led by a 
barbarian slave who had once been prefect of the 

405 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

quondam classis praefectus, moverat. Is fuit Anice- 
tiis Polemonis libertus/ praepotens olirrij et postquam 
regnum in formam provinciae verterat, mutationis 
impatiens. Igitur Vitellii nomine adscitis gentibus, 
quae Pontum accolunt^ corrupto in spem rapinarum 
egentissinio quoque^ baud temnendae manus ductor, 
Trapezuntem vetusta fama civitatem, a Graecis in 
extremo Ponticae orae conditam, subitus inrupit. 
Caesa ibi cohors, regium auxilium olim ; mox donati 
civitate Romana signa armaque in nostrum modum, 
desidiam licentiamque Graecorum retinebant. Classi 
quoque faces intulit^ vacuo mari eludens^ quia lectis- 
simas Liburnicarum omnemque militem Mucianus 
Byzantium adegerat : quin et barbari contemptim - 
vagabantur, fabricatis repente navibus. Camaras 
vocant, artis lateribus latam alvum sine vinculo aeris 
aut ferri conexam ; et tumido mari, prout fluctus 
attollitur, summa navium tabulis augent, donee in 
modum tecti claudantur. Sic inter undas volvuntur, 
pari utrimque prora et mutabili remigio, quando hinc 
vel illinc adpellere^ indiscretum et innoxium est. 

XL\TII. Advertit ea res Vespasiani animum ut 
vexillarios e legioni!)us ducemque Virdium Geminum 
spectatae militiae deb'geret. Ille incompositum et 

^ libertus prepotens libertus, M. 
' contempti M. ^ appellare M. 

' Polemo II., who at his death in 63 A.D. left the kingdom 
of Pontus to the Romans. 
* Trebizond. 

406 



BOOK III. XLVII.-XLVIII. 

royal fleet. This was a certain Anicetus, a freedman 
of Polemo,^ who^ having been once very powerfulj 
was impatient of the cliange after the kingdom was 
transformed into a pi-ovince. So he stirred up the 
people of Pontus in the name of Vitellius, bribing 
the poorest among them with hope of plunder. Then 
at the head of a band, which was far from being 
negligible, he suddenly attacked Trapezus,^ a city of 
ancient fame, founded by (ireeks at the extreme end 
of the coast of Pontus. There he massacred a cohort, 
which originally consisted of auxiliaries furnished by 
the king ; later its members had been granted 
Roman citizenship and had adopted Roman standards 
and arms, but retained the indolence and licence of 
the Greeks. He also set fire to the fleet and 
escaped by sea, which was unpatrolled since Mucianus 
had concentrated the best light galleys and all the 
marines at Byzantium. Moreover, the barbarians had 
hastily built vessels and now roamed the sea at will, 
despising the power of Rome. Their boats they 
call camarae ; they have a low freeboard but are 
broad of beam, and are fastened together without 
spikes of bronze or iron. When the sea is rough the 
sailors build up the bulwarks with planks to match 
the height of the waves, until they close in the hull 
like the roof of a house. Thus protected these 
vessels roll about amid the waves. They have, a 
prow at both ends and their arrangement of oars 
may be shifted, so that they can be safely propelled 
in either direction at will. 

XLVIII. These events attracted Vesjiasian's at- 
tention, so that he sent detachments from his legions 
under the command of Virdius Geminus, whose 
military skill had been well tested. He attacked 

407 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

praedae cupidine vagum hostem adortus coegit in 
navis ; efFectisque raptim Liburnicis adsequitur 
Anicetum in ostio fluminis Chobi, tutum sub Se- 
dochezorum regis auxilio, quem pecunia donisque ad 
societatem perpulerat. Ac primo rex minis armisque 
supplicem tueri : postquam merces proditionis aut 
bellum ostendebatur, fluxa, ut est barbaris, fide pactus 
Aniceti exitium perfugas tradidit^ belloque servili 
finis impositus. 

Laetum ea victoria Vespasianum, cunctis super 
vota fluentibus, Cremonensis proelii nuntius in 
Aegypto adsequitur. eo properantius Alexandriam 
pergitj ut fractos Vitellii exercitus urbemque externae 
opis indigam fame urgeret. Namque et Africam, 
eodem latere sitam, terra marique invadere parabat, 
clausis annonae subsidiis inopiam ac discordiam hosti 
facturus. 

XLIX. Dum hac totius orbis nutatione fortuna 
imperii transit. Primus Antonius nequaquam pari 
innocentia post Cremonam agebat, satis factum bello 
ratus et cetera ex.facilij seu felicitas in tali ingenio 
avaritiam superbiam ceteraque occulta mala patefecit. 



1 The Khopi. 

* Tacitus here returns to the matter of iii. 35. 



408 



BOOK III. xLviii.-xLix. 

the enemy's troops when they were off their guard 
and were scattered in their greed for booty, and 
forced them to their boats ; afterwards he quickly 
built some light galleys and caught up with Anicetus 
at the mouth of the river Chobus,^ where he had 
sought shelter under the protection of the king of 
the Sedochezi, whose alHance he had secured by 
bribes and gifts. At first the king sheltered his 
suppliant with the aid of threats and arms ; but 
after the reward for treachery and the alternative 
of war were set before him, with the unstable 
loyalty of a barbarian he bargained away the life of 
Anicetus, gave up the refugees, and so an end Avas 
put to this servile war. 

While Vespasian was rejoicing over this victory, 
for everything was succeeding beyond his hopes and 
prayers, the news of the battle at Cremona reached 
him in Egypt. He moved with all the more speed 
to Alexandria, that he might impose the burden of 
famine oh the broken armies of Vitellius and on 
Rome, which always needs help from outside. For 
he was now preparing to invade Africa also by land 
and sea, situated as it is in the same quarter of the 
world, his purpose being to shut off Italy's supplies 
of grain and so cause need and discord among his foes. 

XLIX. While the imperial power was shifting 
with these world-wide convulsions,^ Primus Antonius 
did not behave so blamelessly after the battle of 
Cremona as before, whether it was that he thought 
that he had done enough for the war and that 
everything else would easily follow, or whether 
success in the case of a nature like his brought to 
the surface the avarice, arrogance, and other evils 
that had remained hidden hitherto. He stalked 

409 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Ut captam Italiam persultare^ ut suas legiones colere ; 
omnibus dictis factisque viam ^ sibi ad potentiam 
struere. Utque licentia militem imbueret interfec- 
torum centurionum ordines legionibus offerebat. Eo 
sufFragio turbidissimus quisque delecti ; nee miles in 
arbitrio ducum, sed duces militari violentia trahe- 
bantur. Quae seditiosa et corrumpendae disciplinae 
mox in praedam vertebat, nihil adventantem Muci- 
anum veritus^ quod exitiosius erat quam Vespasianum 
sprevisse. 

L. Ceterum propinqua hieme et umentibus Pado 
campis expeditum agmen incedere. Signa aquilae- 
que victricium legionum, milites vulneribus aut aetate 
graves^ plerique etiam integri Veronae relicti ; suffi- 
cere cohortes alaeque et e legionibus lecti profligato 
iam bello videbantur. Undecima legio sese adiun- 
xerat, initio cunctata, sed pvosperis rebus anxia quod 
defuisset ; sex milia Dalmatarum, recens dilectus, 
comitabantur ; ducebat Pompeius Silvanus consularis ; 
vis consiliorum penes Annium Bassum legionis le- 
gatum. Is Silvanum socordem bello et dies rerum 
verbis terentem specie obsequii regebat et ^ ad 
omnia quae agenda forent quieta cum industria 

1 viam Lipsms : vim M. 

' et ad omnia Halm : omniaque M. 

1 That is, by extorting or accepting money from soldiers 
in return for his support. 
^ It ^vas now November. 
^ From Dalmatia. Cf. ii. 67. 

410 



BOOK III. xLix.-L. 

through Italy as if it were captured territory ; he 
courted the legions as if they were his own ; he 
used his every word and act to pave his way to 
power. To inspire the soldiers with a spirit of 
licence, he offered to the rank and file the places of 
the centurions who had fallen. The soldiers chose 
the most turbulent of their number. The ranks 
were no longer directed by the will of their leaders, 
but the leaders were at the mercy of the common 
soldiers' whims. These acts, which made for mutinies 
and the ruin of discipline, Antonius presently turned 
to his own profit.^ He had no fear of the arrival 
of Mucianus, although in the event this was more 
fatal for him than the fact that he had treated 
Vespasian with little respect. 

L. Meantime, since winter was approaching and 
the plains were inundated by the Po,'^ the Flavian 
troops moved without their heavy baggage. They 
left at Verona the eagles and standards of the 
victorious legions, such soldiers as were incapacitated 
by wounds or years, and also a number who were 
in good condition ; the auxiliary foot and horse with 
selected legionaries seemed sufficient now that the 
worst of the war was over. The Eleventh legion ^ 
had joined them ; at first it had hesitated, but, now 
that the Flavians were succeeding, it became appre- 
hensive because it had not joined them before. Six 
thousand Dalmatians, a new levy, accompanied 
them, led by Pompeius Silvanus, an ex-consul. The 
actual guiding spirit was Annius Bassus, the legion- 
ary legate. Silvanus displayed no energy in war, 
but wasted in mere talk the days for action. 
Bassus directed him by pretending to defer to him, 
and continually attended to all necessary operations 

411 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

aderat. Ad has copias e classicis Ravennatibus, 
legionariam militiam poscentibus, optimus quisque 
adsciti : classem Dalmatae supplevere. Exercitus 
ducesque ad Fanum Fortunae iter sistunt, de summa 
rerum cunctantes, quod motas ex urbe praetorias 
cohortis audierant et teneri praesidiis Appenninum 
rebantur ; et ipsos in regione ^ bello attrita inopia et 
seditiosae militum voces terrebant, clavarium (do- 
nativi nomen est) flagitantium. Nee pecuniam aut 
frumentum providerant, et festinatio atque aviditas 
praepediebantj dum quae accipi poterant rapiuntur, 
LI. Celeberrimos auctores habeo tantam victoribus 
adversus fas nefasque inreverentiam fuisse ut gre- 
garius eques occisum a se proxima acie fratrem 
professus praemium a dueibus petierit. Nee illis aut 
honorare earn caedem ius hominum aut ulcisci ratio 
belli permittebat. Distulerant tamquam maiora 
meritum quam quae ^ statim exsolverentur ; nee quid- 
quam ultra traditur. Ceterum et prioribus civium 
bellis par scelus inciderat. Nam proelio, quo apud 
laniculum adversus Cinnam pugnatum est, Pompei- 
anus miles fratrem suum, dein cognito facinore se 
ipsum interfecit, ut Sisenna memorat : tanto acrior 
apud maioreSj sicut virtutibus gloria^ ita flagitiis 

' regione Fae'fnus : legione M. 

^ quam quae Puteolanus : quanquam J/. 

^ Fano. 

* A piece of soldiers' slang ; literally, "hob-nail {claims) 
money." 
3 In 87 B.C. 

412 



BOOK III. L.-Li. 

with unobtrusive activity. The marines at Ravenna 
now demanded service with the legions, and the 
best of them were enrolled among them ; 
Dalmatians replaced them in the fleet. The troops 
and commanders halted at Fanum Fortunae,^ being 
uncertain as to the proper course of action, for 
they had received a report that six praetorian 
cohorts had left Rome, and they supposed that the 
passes in the Apennines were guarded. The com- 
manders, too, were alarmed by the lack of supplies, 
being now in a district completely devastated by 
the war, as well as by the mutinous demands of 
the soldiers for the clavariiwi,^ as they call the 
donative. They had provided neither money nor 
provisions ; moreover, their haste and greed in 
seizing as private booty what might have been stores 
to draw upon now proved embarrassing. 

LI. I have it from the best authorities that the 
victors had come to disregard the difference between 
right and wrong so completely that a common 
soldier declared that he had killed his brother in 
the last battle and actually asked the generals for 
a reward. The common dictates of humanity did 
not permit them to honour such a murder or military 
policy to punish it. They put off the soldier on 
the ground that he deserved a reward greater than 
could be repaid at once ; nor is anything further 
told concerning the case. And yet a similar crime 
had happened in civil war before. In the struggle 
against Cinna on the Janiculum,^ as Sisenna relates, 
one of Pompey's soldiers killed his own brother and 
then, on realizing his crime, committed suicide. So 
much livelier among our ancestors was repentance 
for guilt as well as glory in virtuous action. Such 

413 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

paenitentia fuit. Sed hacc aliaque ex vetere nie- 
moria petita, quotiens res locusque exempla recti 
aut solacia mali poscet, baud absurde niemorabimus. 
LII. Antonio ducibusque partium praemitti equites 
omnemque Umbriam explorari placuit, si qua Appen- 
nini iuga clementius adirentur ; acciri aquilas signa- 
que et quidquid Veronae miUtum foret, Padiimque 
et mare commeatibus compleri. Erant inter duces 
qui necterent moras : quippe nimius iam Antonius, 
et certiora ex Muciano sperabantur. Namque Mu- 
cianus tam celeri victoria anxius et, ni praesens urbe 
potiretur, expertem se belli gloriaeque ratus, ad 
Primum et Varum media scriptitabat, instandum 
coeptis aut rursus cunctandi utilitates edisserens 
atque ita compositus ut ex eventu rerum adversa 
abnueret vel prospei'a agnosceret. Plotium Grypum, 
nuper a Vespasiano in senatorium ordinem adscitum^ 
ac legioni praepositum, ceterosque sibi fidos apertius 
monuit, hique omnes de festinatione Primi ac Yari 
sinistre et Muciano volentia rescripsere. Quibus 
epistulis Vespasiano missis elFecerat ut non pro spe 
Antonii consilia factaque eius aestimarentur. 

^ adscitum Bitter : additum ^f. 
414 



BOOK III. Li.-ui. 

deeds as this and others like them, drawn from our 
earlier history, I shall not improperly insert in my 
work whenever the theme or situation demands 
examples of the right or solace for the wrong. 

LI I. Antonius and the other Flavian commanders 
decided to send their cavalry on ahead and to 
reconnoitre throughout Umbria, to see if they could 
approach the Apennines at any point without danger ; 
they proposed also to bring up the eagles and 
standards with all the soldiers then at Verona, and 
to fill the Po and the sea with convoys of provisions. 
There were some among the commanders who 
devised reasons for delay ; they felt that Antonius 
was becoming too pretentious, and they hoped to 
get more certain advantages from Mucianus. For 
Mucianus, disturbed by the speed with which the 
victory had been won, and believing that he would 
have no share in the glory to be gained by the war 
unless he took Rome in person, kept writing to 
Primus and V^arus in ambiguous terms, saying in 
one letter that they must follow up their successes 
and in another dwelling on the advantages of pro- 
ceeding slowly, so trimming his course that according 
to the event he might at will repudiate all responsi- 
bility for failure or take the credit for success. To 
Plotius Grypus, whom Vespasian had lately elevated 
to senatorial rank and put in conmiand of a legion, 
and to all other officers who were loyal, he wrote 
admonishing them more frankly ; and they all replied, 
putting the haste of Primus and V^arus in an un- 
favourable light and saying what was likely to please 
Mucianus. By sending these letters to Vespasian, 
Mucianus succeeded in preventing the plans and acts 
of Antonius from being estimated so highly as the 
latter had hoped, 

415 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

hill. Aegre id pati Antonius et culpam in Mucia- 
num conferre, cuius criminationibus eviluissent 
pericula sua ; nee sermonibus temperabat, immodieus 
lingua et obsequii insolens, Litteras ad Yespasia- 
num composuit iactantius quam ad principem, nee 
sine occulta in Mucianum insectatione : se Pannoni- 
cas legiones in arma egisse ; suis stimulis excitos 
Moesiae duces, sua constantia perruptas Alpis, 
occupatam Italiam, intersepta Germanorum Raeto- 
rumque auxilia. Quod discordis dispersasque Yitellii 
legiones equestri procella, mox peditum vi per diem 
noctemque fudisset, id pulcherrimum et sui operis. 
Casum Cremonae bello imputandum : maiore damno, 
plurium urbium excidiis veteres civium discordias 
rei publicae stetisse. Non se nuntiis neque epistulis, 
sed manu et armis imperatori suo militare ; neque 
officere gloriae eorum qui Daciam ^ interim compo- 
suerint : illis Moesiae pacem, sibi salutem securita- 
temque Italiae cordi fuisse ; suis exhortationibus 
Gallias Hispaniasque, validissimam terrarum partem, 
ad Vespasianum conversas. Sed cecidisse in inritum 
labores si praemia periculorum soli adsequantur qui 
periculis non adfuerint. Nee fefellere ea Mucianum ; 

* Daciam Sisker : asiam M. 
416 



BOOK III. Lin. 

LIII. At this Antonius was indignant, and put the 
blame on Mucianus, whose base insinuations, as he 
maintained, had made the dangers that he had run 
seem trifling ; nor did he pick and choose his words, 
being as he was immoderate in speecli and unaccus- 
tomed to defer to another. He drew up a letter to 
Vespasian in a strain too boastful to use to an 
emperor ; and he did not fail to attack Mucianus 
covertly : " It was I who armed the Pannonian 
legions. It was I who roused the commanders in 
Moesia and spurred them on. It was my bold action 
that broke through the Alps, seized Italy, and 
blocked the road against any assistance to Vitellius 
from Germany and Raetia." As for the disaster 
inflicted on the discordant and scattered legions of 
V^itellius by a whirlwind of cavalry and the rout of 
those troops by a great force of infantry which 
pursued them for a day and a night, Antonius 
claimed that these were glorious achievements of 
which he deserved all the credit. The fate of 
Cremona he charged up to the chances of war ; and 
pointed out that civil discord in earlier days had 
caused greater loss and had destroyed more cities. 
He declared that he did not fight for his emperor 
with despatches and letters, but with deeds and 
arms ; he made no attempt to dim the glory of those 
who meantime had quieted Dacia ; their desire had 
been to give Moesia peace, his to give Italy safety 
and security. It was due to his exhortations that 
the Gauls and Spains, the strongest part of the 
world, had turned to Vespasian's side. " But," he 
added, "my efforts will come to nothing if the 
rewards for dangers run are to be gained only by 
those who did not face the dangers." Of all this 

417 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

inde graves simultates, quas Antonius simplicius, 
Mucianus callide eoque implacabilius nutriebat. 

LIV. At Vitellius fractis apud Cremonam rebus 
nuntios cladis occultans stulta dissimulatione remedia 
potius malorum quam mala differebat. Quippe 
confitenti consultantique supererant spes viresque : 
cum e contrario laeta omnia fingeret, falsis in- 
gravescebat. Mirum apud ipsum de bello silentium ; 
prohibit! per civitatem sermones, eoque plures ac, 
si liceretj vere narraturi, quia vetabantur, atrociora 
vulgaverant. Nee duces hostium augendae famae 
deerant, captos Vitellii exploratores circumductosque, 
ut robora victoris exercitus noscerent, remittendo ; 
quos omnis Vitellius secreto percontatus interfici 
iussit. Notabili constantia centurio lulius Agrestis 
post multos sermones, quibus Vitellium ad virtutem 
frustra accendebat, perpulit ut ad viris hostium 
spectandas quaeque apud Cremonam acta forent i})se 
mitteretur. Nee exploratione occulta fallere An- 
tonium temptavit, sed mandata imperatoris suumque 
animum professus, ut cuncta viseret postulat. Missi 
qui locum proelii, Cremonae vestigia, captas legiones 
ostenderent. Agrestis ^ ad Vitellium remeavit ab- 

^ adgrestis .)/. 
4t8 



BOOK III. Liii.-uv. 

Mucianus was fully aware, and the result was bitter en- 
mity, fostered more openly by Antonius, with cunning 
and therefore the more implacably by Mucianus. 

LIV. Vitellius, however, after the loss of his 
cause at Cremona, concealed the news of the dis- 
aster, and by foolish dissimulation delayed the 
remedies for his misfortunes rather than the mis- 
fortunes themselves. For if he had only acknowledged 
the truth and sought counsel, he had still some 
hope and resources left ; but when, on the contrary, 
he pretended that all was well, he made his situation 
worse by his falsehoods. A strange silence concern- 
ing the war was observed in his presence ; discussion 
in the city was forbidden, with the result that more 
people talked. If they had been allowed to speak, 
they would have told only the truth ; but as they 
were forbidden, they spread abroad more frightful 
reports. The generals of the Flavian forces did not 
fail to increase the rumours by escorting round their 
camp the Vitellian spies whom they had captured, 
showing them the strength of the victorious army 
and then sending them back to Rome. All these 
Vitellius questioned in secret and promptly had 
them put to death. Julius Agrestis, a centurion, 
exhibited notable courage. After many conversa- 
tions, in which he tried in vain to rouse Vitellius to 
bold action, he persuaded the emperor to send him 
to see in person the enemy's forces and to observe 
what had happened at Cremona. He did not try 
to deceive Antonius by any secret investigation, but 
frankly made known his emperor's orders and his 
own purpose, and demanded to see everything. Men 
were despatched to show him the battle-ground, the 
ruins of Cremona, and the captive legions. Agrestis 

419 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

nuentique vera esse quae adferret, atque ultro 
corruptum arguenti '^'quando quidem " inquit "magno 
documento o{)us est, nee alius iam tibi aut vitae aut 
mortis meae usus, dabo cui credas." Atque ita 
digressus voluntaria niorte dicta firmavit. Quidam 
iussu Vitellii interfectum, de fide constantiaque 
eadem tradidere. 

LV. Vitellius ut e somno excitus lulium Priscum 
et Alfenum Varum cum quattuordecim praetoriis 
cohortibus et omnibus equitum alis obsidere Appen- 
ninum iubet ; secuta e classicis legio. Tot milia 
armatorum, lecta equis virisque, si dux alius foret, 
inferendo quoque bello satis pollebant. Ceterae 
cohortes ad tuendam urbem L. Vitellio fratri datae : 
ipse nihil e solito luxu remittens et diffidentia 
properus festinare comitia, quibus consules in multos 
annos destinabat ; foedera sociis, Latium externis ^ 
dilargiri ; his tributa dimittere, alios immunitatibus 
iuvare ; denique nulla in posterum cura lacerare 
imperium. Sed valgus ad magnitudinem beneficio- 
rum aderat,^ stultissimus quisque pecuniis mercabatur, 
apud sapientis cassa habebantur quae neque dari 
neque accipi salva re publica poterant. Tandem 

^ ternis M. 
'^ haberat 3f. 

^ The Latin is obscure, but it apparently means what the 
English version attempts to say, i.e. that the unthinking 
part of the populace were delighted and dazzled by his 
apparent liberality. J. F. Gronovius read hiabat ("gaped 
with wonder at ") for culerat, but with no manuscript warrant. 

420 



BOOK III. iiv.-Lv. 

returned to Vitellius ; and when the emperor denied 
the truth of his report, and even went so far as to 
charge him with having been bribed, he said, " Since 
I must give you a convincing proof of my statements, 
and you can have no other advantage from my life 
or death, I will give you evidence that will make 
you believe." With these words he left the em- 
peror's presence, and made good his words by 
suicide. Some have reported that he was put to 
death by the orders of Vitellius, but all agree as to 
his fidelity and courage. 

LV. Vitellius was like a man wakened from a deep 
sleep. Reordered Julius Priscus and Alfenus Varus 
to block the passes of the Apennines with fourteen 
praetorian cohorts and all the cavalry. A legion ot 
marines followed them later. These thousands of 
armed forces, consisting too of picked men and 
horses, were equal to taking the offensive if they 
had had another leader. The rest of the cohorts 
Vitellius gave to his brother Lucius for the defence of 
Rome, while he, abating in no degree his usual life ot 
pleasure and urged on by his lack of confidence in 
the future, held the comitia before the usual time, 
and designated the consuls for many years to come. 
He granted special treaties to allies and bestowed 
Latin rights on foreigners with a generous hand ; he 
reduced the tribute for some provincials, he relieved 
others from all obligations — in short, with no regard 
for the future he crippled the empire. But the mob 
attended in delight on the great indulgences that he 
bestowed ^ ; the most foolish citizens bought them, 
while the wise regarded as worthless privileges 
which could neither be granted nor accepted if the 
state was to stand. Finally Vitellius listened to the 

42X 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

flagitante exercitu, qui Mevaniam insederat, magno 
senatorum agniine, quorum multos ambitione, pluris 
formidine trahebat, in castra venit, incertus animi 
et infidis consiliis obnoxius. 

LVI. Contionanti — prodigiosum dictu — tantum 
foedarum volucrum supervolitavit ut iiube atra diem 
obtenderent. Accessit dirum omen, profugus altari- 
bus taurus disiecto sacrificii apparatu, longe, nee ut^ 
feriri hostias mos est, confossus. Sed praecipuum 
ipse Vitellius ostentum erat, ignarus militiae, im- 
providus consilii,^ quis ordo agminis, quae cura 
explorandi,quantus urgendo trahendove belle modus, 
alios rogitans et ad omnis nuntios vultu quoque et 
incessu trepidus, dein temulentus. Postremo taedio 
castrorum et audita defectione Misenensis classis 
Romam revertit, recentissimum quodque ^ vulnus 
pavens, summi discriminis incuriosus. Nam cum 
transgredi Appenninum integro exercitus sui robore 
et fessos hieme atque inopia hostis adgredi in aperto 
foret, dura dispergit viris, acerrimum militem et 
usque in extrema obstinatum trucidandum capien- 
dumque tradidit, peritissimis centurionum dissentien- 
tibus et, si eonsulerentur, vera dicturis. Arcuere * 
eos intinii amicorum V^itellii, ita formatis principis 

^ ut Schneider : vi M. 

* consiliis M. 
' quoque M. 

* arcuere Lipsius : argnere M. 

' Bevagna. 
422 



BOOK III. Lv.-Lvi. 

demands of his army which had stopped at Mevania,i 
and left Rome, accompanied by a long line of 
senators, many of whom were drawn in his train by 
their desire to secure his favour, most however by 
fear. So he came to camp with no clear purpose in 
mind, an easy prey to treacherous advice. 

LVI. While Vitellius was addressing the troops 
an incredible prodigy appeared — such a flock of birds 
of ill omen flew above him that they obscured the 
day with a black cloud. Another dire omen was 
given by a bull which overthrew the preparations 
for sacrifice, escajied from the altar, and was then 
despatched some distance away and in an unusual 
fashion. But the most outstanding portent was 
V^itellius himself; unskilled in war, without foresight, 
unacquainted with the proper order of march, the 
use of scouts, the limits within which a general 
should hurry on a campaign or delay it, he was 
constantly questioning others ; at the arrival of 
every messenger his face and gait betrayed his 
anxiety ; and then he would drink heavilv. Finally, 
weary of the camp and hearing of the defection 
of the fleet at Misenum, he returned to Rome, 
panic-stricken as ever by the latest blow and 
with no thought for the supreme issue. For when 
the way was open to him to cross the Apennines 
while the strength of his forces was unimpaired, 
and to attack his foes who were still exhausted by 
the winter and lack of supplies, by scattering his 
forces he delivered over to death and captivity his 
best troops, who were loyal to the last extremity, 
although his most experienced centurions disap- 
proved, and if consulted, would have told him the 
truth. But the most intimate friends of Vitellius kept 

423 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

auribus ut aspera quae utilia, nee quidquam nisi 
iucundum et laesurum acciperet. 

LVII. Sed classem Misenensem (tantum civilibus 
discordiis etiam singulorum audacia valet) Claudius 
Faventinus centurio per ignominiam a Galba di- 
missus ad defectionem traxit, fictis Vespasiani 
epistulis pretium proditionis ostentans. Praeerat 
classi Claudius Apollinaris, neque fidei constans 
neque strenuus in perfidia ; et Apinius Tiro praetura 
functus ac turn forte Minturnis agens ducem se 
defectoribus obtulit. A quibus municipia coloniae- 
que impulsae, praecipuo Puteolanorum in Vespasia- 
num studio, contra Capua Vitellio fida, municipalem 
aemulationem bellis civilibus miscebant. Vitellius 
Claudium lulianum (is nuper classem Misenensem 
molli imperio rexerat) permulcendis militum animis 
delegit ; data in auxilium urbana cohors et gladia- 
tores, quibus lulianus praeerat. Ut conlata utrimque 
castra, baud magna cunctatione luliano in partis 
Vespasiani transgresso, Tarracinam occupavere, moe- 
nibus situque magis quam ipsorum ingenio tutam. 

LVII I. Quae ubi Vitellio cognita, parte copiarum 

' The successor of Bassus. Cf. iii. 12. 
2 At the mouth of the Liris, on the border between Latium 
and Campania. 

' Pozzuoli, on the bay of Naples. 

* Terracina, on the coast south of the Pontine marshes. 

424 



BOOK III. Lvi.-Lviii. 

them away from him, and so inclined the emperor's 
ears that useful counsel sounded harsh, and he 
would hear nothing but what flattered and was to 
be fatal. 

LVII. The action of the fleet at Misenum is an 
illustration of the weight that a bold stroke on the 
part of a single individual may have in time of civil 
strife. It was Claudius Flaventinus, a centurion 
dishonourably discharged by Galba, who brought the 
fleet to revolt by forging letters from Vespasian in 
which he held out to the men a reward for their 
treason. The fleet was commanded by Claudius 
Apollinaris,^ who was neither strong in loyalty nor 
determined in treacherj' ; and Apinius Tiro, an ex- 
praetor who at that time happened to be at Min- 
turnae,^ offered himself to lead the rebels. These 
moved the municipal towns and colonies to action. 
The people of Puteoli ^ became ardent supporters of 
Vespasian ; Capua, on the other hand, was faithful 
to Vitellius ; and so rivalry between communities 
became a part of the civil war. Vitellius selected 
Claudius Julianus to reconcile the troops, for when 
Julianus shortly before had commanded the fleet at 
Misenum, he had exercised his authority in a mild 
fashion. The emperor gave him to support his 
efforts one of the city cohorts and the gladiators 
that Julianus then commanded. When the two 
forces were encamped over against each other, 
Julianus did not long hesitate to join Vespasian's 
party ; then the combuied forces occupied Tarracina,* 
a town which was better defended by its walls and 
situation than by any ability on the part of the 
soldiers. 

LVII I. On learning this, \'itellius left part of his 

425 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Narniae cum praefectis praetorii relicta L. Vitellium 
fratrem cum sex cohortibus et quingentis equitibus 
ingruenti per Campaniam bello opposuit. Ipse aeger 
animi studiis militum et clamoribus populi arma 
poscentis refovebatur, dum vulgus ignavum et nihil 
ultra verba ausurum falsa specie exercitum et 
legiones appellat. Hortautibus libertis (nam ami- 
corum eius quanto quis clarior, minus fidus) vocari 
tribus iubet, dantis nomina sacramento adigit. 
Superfluente multitudine curam dilectus in consules 
partitur ; servorum numerum et pondus argenti 
senatoribus indicit. Equites Romani obtulere operam 
pecuniasquC;, etiam libertinis idem munus ultro 
flagitantibus. Ea simulatio officii a metu profecta 
verterat in favorem ; ac plerique baud perinde 
\^itellium quam casum locumque principatus misera- 
bantur. Nee deerat ij)se vultu voce lacrimis miseri- 
cordiam elicere, largus promissis, et quae natura 
trepidantium est, immodicus. Quin et Caesarem se 
dici voluit, aspernatus antea, sed tunc superstitione 
nominis, et quia in metu consilia prudentium et 
vulgi rumor iuxta audiuntur. Ceterum ut omnia 
inconsulti impetus coepta initiis valida spatio lan- 



1 Terni. 

^ Vitellius had hitherto declined to be called Caesar or 
Augustus (i. 62 ; ii. 55-62), possibl}' prompted by a desire to 
appear modest ; but now the imperial name seemed to him a 
support in his misfortunes. 

426 



BOOK III. Lviii. 

troops at Narnia ^ with the prefects of the praetorian 
guard ; his brother Lucius MtelHus lie sent with 
six cohorts and fiv'e hundred horse to oppose the 
threatened outbreak in Campania. He himself was 
sick at heart, but the enthusiasm of the soldiers and 
the shouts of the people demanding arms gave him 
fresh spirit, while he addressed the cowardly 
rabble, whose courage would not extend beyond 
words, under the unreal and pretentious names of 
an army and legions. On the advice of his freedmen 
(for the more distinguished his friends were, the 
less he trusted them), he ordered the people to 
assemble in tribes, and administered the oath to the 
members as they enrolled. Since the numbers were 
too great, he divided between the consuls the selection 
of the recruits. On the senators he imposed a con- 
tribution of slaves and cash. The knights offered 
assistance and money, while even the freedmen 
demanded to be allowed the same privilege. This 
pretended devotion, which was in reality ])rompted 
by fear, resulted in enthusiasm for the emperor ; 
yet most men felt sorry not so much for Vitellius 
as for the unfortunate position to which the prin- 
cipate had fallen. Nor did he fail ])ersonally to 
appeal to their pity by look, voice, and tears ; he 
was generous and even ])rodigal in his promises, 
after the manner of the timid. Nay, he even 
went so far as to wish to be called Caesar, a 
title which he had rejected before, but now accepted 
from a superstitious feeling with regard to the 
name,- and because in time of fear the counsels of 
the wise and the words of the crowd obtain a like 
hearing. However, since all movements that arise 
from thoughtless impulses are strong at first but 

427 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

guescunt, dilabi paulatim senatores equitesque, primo 
cunctanter et ubi ipse non aderat, mox contemptim 
et sine ^ discrimine donee Vitellius pudore inriti 
conatus quae non dabantur remisit. 

LIX. Ut terrorem Italiae possessa Mevania ac 
velut renatum ex integro bellum intulerat^ ita baud 
dubium erga Flavianas partis studium tam pavidus 
Vitellii discessus addidit. Erectus Samnis Paelig- 
nusque et Marsi aemulatione quod Campania prae- 
venisset, ut in novo obsequio, ad cuncta belli niunia 
acres erant. Sed foeda hieme per transitum Ap- 
pennini conflictatus exercitus, et vix quieto agmine 
nives eluctantibus patuit quantum discriminis adeun- 
dum foret, ni Vitellium retro fortuna vertisset, quae 
Flavianis ducibus non minus saepe quam ratio 
adfuit. Obvium illic Petilium Cerialem habuere, 
agresti cultu et notitia locorum eustodias Vitellii 
elapsum. Propinqua adfinitas Ceriali cum Vespa- 
siano, nee ipse inglorius militiae^ eoque inter duces 
adsumptus est. Flavio quoque Sabino ac Domitiano 
patuisse efFugium multi tradidere ; et missi ab 
Antonio nuntii per varias fallendi artis penetrabant, 
locum ac praesidiummonstrantes. Sabinus inhabilem 

^ contemptim et sine Fichcua : contempti mesti ne M. 

^ His return to Rome, described in chapter 56. 

* Later he crushed the uprising led by the Batarian 
Civilia (books iv. and v.). 

* Vespasian's brother, who was city-prefect at this time. 
Cf. below, chapters 64-75. 

428 



BOOK III. Lviii.-Lix. 

slacken with time, the senators and knights gradually 
began to fall away, at first with hesitation and when 
Vitellius was not present, later in open scorn and 
indifference, until in shame at the failure of his 
attempts he excused them from the services which 
they would not render. 

LIX. While the occupation of Mevania had terri- 
fied Italy and had seemed to start a new war, it 
was also true that the timid retreat of Vitellius ^ 
had increased the favourable feeling toward the 
Flavian party. The Samnites, Paelignians, and 
Marsians were jealous because Campania had antici- 
pated them, and eagerly undertook all services 
required by war with the enthusiasm that attaches 
to every new devotion. Nevertheless, the army had 
been greatly exhausted by a severe winter storm 
while crossing the Apennines, and when the troops, 
though undisturbed by any enemy, found difficulty 
in struggling through the snow, the leaders realized 
what risks they would have run, had not that 
fortune which often served the Flavian commanders 
quite as much as wisdom turned Vitellius back. In 
the mountains they met Petilius Cerialis, who had 
escaped the pickets of Vitellius by disguising him- 
self as a peasant and using his knowledge of 
the district. Cerialis was closely connected with 
Vespasian, and being himself not without reputation 
in war, was made one of the commanders. ^ Many 
have reported that Flavius Sabinus ^ also and Domi- 
tian had an opportunity to escape opened to them. 
Emissaries of Antonius by various cunning arts made 
their way to them and showed them the place to 
which to flee and the protection that they would 
have. Sabinus offered the excuse that his health 

429 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

labori et audaciae valetudinem causabatur : Domi- 
tiano aderat animus, sed custodes a Vitellio additi, 
quamquam se socios fugae promitterent, tamquam 
insidiantes tiniebantur. Atque ipse Vitellius re- 
spectu suarum^ necessitudinum nihil in Domitianum 
atrox parabat. 

LX. Duces partium ut Carsulas venere, paucos ad 
requiem dies sumunt, donee aquilae signaque legio- 
num adsequerentur. Et locus ipse castrorum place- 
bat, late prospectans, tuto copiarum adgestu, floren- 
tissimis pone tergam municipiis ; simul conloquia 
cum V itellianis decern milium spatio distantibus et 
proditio sperabatur. Aegre id pati miles et vietoriam 
malle quam pacem ; ne suas quidem legiones oppe- 
riebantur, ut praedae quam periculorum socias. 
Vocatos ad contionem Antonius docuit esse adhuc 
Vitellio viris, ambiguas, si deliberarent, acris, si 
desperassent. Initia bellorum civilium fortunae 
permittenda : vietoriam consiliis et ratione perfici. 
lam Misenensem classem et pulcherrimam Campaniae 
Oram descivisse, nee plus e toto terrarum orbe 
reliquum Vitellio quam quod inter Tarracinam Nar- 
niaraque iaceat. Satis gloriae proelio Cremonensi 
partum et exitio Cremonae nimium invidiae : ne 

^ respectus varus M. 

^ Casigliano, ten Roman miles north of Terni. 

* From Verona. Cf. chapter 52. 

* At Narnia (Terni). 

43° 



BOOK III. UX.-LV. 

was not fitted to stand fatigue or to engage in a 
bold enterprise ; Domitian had the courage, but, in 
spite of the fact that the guards VitelHus set over 
him promised to join him in flight, he feared that 
tliey were planning treachery. And yet VitelHus 
himself out of regard for his own relatives, cherished 
no cruel purpose against Domitian. 

LX. On arriving at Carsulae,^ the leaders of the 
Flavian party rested a few days and waited for the 
eagles and standards of the legions to cqme up.^ 
They also regarded with favour the actual situation 
of their camp, which had a wide outlook, and secured 
their supply of stores, because of the prosperous towns 
behind them ; and at the same time, as the troops of 
VitelHus were only ten miles away,^ they hoj)ed to 
have confeirences with them and to bring them 
over. The soldiers objected to this policy and pre- 
ferred a victory to peace ; they were opposed to 
waiting even for their own legions, which would share 
in the booty as well as the dangers. Antonius 
assembled his troops and pointed out that VitelHus 
still had an army whose allegiance to him would be 
doubtful if the soldiers were given a chance to 
deliberate, but which would be dangerous if driven 
to despair. ''The beginning of civil war," he said, 
"is necessarily left to fortune ; but victory is always 
secured by strategy and wise counsel. The fleet at 
Misenum and the lovely district of Campania have 
already deserted VitelHus, and he now has nothing 
left out of the whole world but the land that lies 
between Tarracina and Narnia. We gained a full 
measure of glory in the battle of Cremona, but by 
the destruction of Cremona won greater unpopu- 
larity than we could wish. Therefore we should 

431 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

concupiscerent Romam capere potius quam servare. 
Maiora^ illis praemia et multo maximum decus, si 
incolumitatem senatui populoque Romano sine san- 
guine quaesissent. His ac talibus mitigati animi. 

LXI. Nee multo post legiones venere. Et terrore 
famaque aucti exercitus Vitellianae cohortes nuta- 
bant, nullo in bellum adhortante, multis ad transi- 
tionem, qui suas centurias turmasque tradere, donum 
victori et sibi in posterum gratiam, certabant. Per 
eos cognitum est Interamnam proximis campis prae- 
sidio quadringentorum equitum teneri. Missus ex- 
teraplo Varus cum expedita manu paucos repugnan- 
tium interfecit ; plures abiectis armis veniam petivere. 
Quidam in castra refugi cuncta formidine implebant, 
augendo rumoribus- virtutem copiasque hostium^ quo 
amissi praesidii dedecus lenirent. Nee uUa apud 
Vitellianos flagitii poena^ et praemiis defectorum 
versa 3 fides ac reliquum perfidiae certamen. Crebra 
transfugia tribunorum centurionumque ; nam gre- 
garius miles induruerat pro Vitellio, donee Priscus et 
Alfenus desertis castris ad Vitellium regressi pudore 
proditionis cunctos exsolverent. 

LXII. Isdem diebus Fabius Valens Urbini in 

^ maior M. 

^ augendorum oribus M. 

' versa Frelnshcim : verba M. 



The prefects of the praetorian guards. Cf. chap. 58. 
* Cf. chap. 43. « Urbino. 



432 



BOOK III. Lx.-i.xii. 

not long to capture Rome so nuieli as to save it. 
You will have greater rewards and the greatest 
possible fame if you aim to secure without blood- 
shed the safety of the senate and the Roman 
people." These arguments and others to the same 
effect quieted the soldiers' impatience. 

LXI. Not much later the legions arrived at 
Carsulae. The terrifying report that the Flavian 
army had been reinforced caused the cohorts ot 
Vitellius to waver : no officer urged them to fight^ 
but many to desert, rivalling one another in handing 
over their centuries and squadrons as a gift to the 
victors and a security for their own reward later. 
From them the Flavians learned that Interamna 
in the neighbouring plain was defended by four 
hundred horse. Varus was despatched at once with 
a force in light marching order. He killed a few 
of the garrison when they resisted ; the majority 
threw down their arms and begged for pardon. 
Some, escaping to the main camp, caused utter 
consternation there by exaggerated accounts of the 
bravery and the numbers of their enemies, which 
they gave to mitigate their own disgrace for having 
failed to hold their post. With the Vitellians there 
was no punishment for cowardice ; those who went 
over to the Flavians received the rewards of their 
treachery ; the only rivalry left was in perfidy. 
Among the tribunes and centurions desertions were 
frequent ; for the common soldiers had remained 
steadfastly loyal to Vitellius until now Priscus and 
AJfenus ^ by abandoning the camp and returning to 
Vitellius set them all free from any shame of treachery. 

LXI I. During these same days Fabius Valens^ 
was killed at Urbinum,^ where he was under guard. 

433 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

custodia interficitur. Caput eius V'itellianis cohorti- 
bus ostentatum ne quam ultra spem foverent ; nam 
pervasisse in Gemianias Valentem et veteres illic 
novosque exercitus ciere credebant : visa caede in 
desperationem versi. Et Flavianus exercitus immane 
quantum aucto ^ animo exitium Valentis ut finem 
belli accepit. Natus erat Valens Anagniae equestri 
familia. Procax moribus neque absurdus ingenio ni^ 
famam urbanitatis per lasciviam peteret. Ludicro 
luvenalium ^ sub Nerone velut ex necessitate, mox 
sponte mimos actitavit, scite magis quam probe. 
Legatus legionis et fovit Verginium et infamavit ; 
Fonteium Capitonem corruptum, seu quia corrumpere 
nequiverat, interfecit : Galbae proditor, Vitellio fidus 
et aliorum perfidia inlustratus. 

LXIII. Abrupta undique spe Vitellianus miles 
transiturus in partis, id quoque non sine decore, sed 
sub signis vexillisque in subiectos Narniae campos 
descendere. Flavianus exercitus, ut ad proelium 
intentus ornatusque, densis circa viam ordinibus 
adstiterat.* Accept! in medium Mtelliani, et circum- 
datos Primus Antonius clementer adloquitur : pars 
Narniae, pars Interamnae subsistere^ iussi. Relictae 

^ aucto add. Haasc. ^ ni add. Halm. 

* luvenalium 2/Z^sn(s: iuvenum J/. 

* adsisterat M. ^ substitere M, 

^ Anagni. 

^ Cf. Ann. xiv. 15. A festival established by Nero, in 
which the youth of the Equestrian order took part. 
"Cf. i. 7f. *Cf. i, 8. 

434 



BOOK III. Lxii.-Lxiii. 

His head was exhibited to the cohorts of Vitellius 
to keep them from cherishing any further hope, for 
hitherto they had believed that Valens had made 
his way to the German provinces, where he was 
setting in motion the old forces and enrolling new. 
The sight of his head turned them to despair ; and 
it was extraordinary with what an enormous in- 
crease of courage the execution of Valens inspired 
the Flavian troops, who regarded it as the end ot 
the war. Valens was born at Anagnia ^ of an 
equestrian family. He was a man of loose morals 
but not without natural ability, save that he sought 
a reputation for wit by buffoonery. At the Festival 
of Youth 2 under Nero he appeared in mimes, at 
first apparently under compulsion, but later of his 
own free will, acting in a manner more clever than 
decent. As a legate of a legion he courted Verginius 
and then defamed him.^ He put Fonteius Capito ■* 
to death after corrupting him — or it may have been 
because he could not corrupt him. A traitor to 
Galba, he was faithful to Vitellius and gained glory 
from the perfidy of others. 

LXni. Now that every possible hope from any 
source was destroyed, the troops of Vitellius were 
ready to come over to Vespasian's side ; but they 
wished to do it with honour, and so came down 
into the plain below Narnia with their ensigns and 
standards. The Flavian troops, all equipped and 
ready for the battle, were drawn up in close order 
along the sides of the road. The Vitellians were 
allowed to advance between the Flavian lines; then 
Antonius drew his forces about them and addressed 
them in kindly terms. Half of them were ordered 
to stay at Narnia, the other half at Interamna. At 

435 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

simul e victricibus legiones^ neque quiescentibus 
graves et adversus contumaciam validae. Non omisere 
per eos dies Primus ac Varus crebris nuntiis salutem 
et pecuniam et secreta Campaniae offerre Vitellio, si 
positis armis seque ac liberos suos Vespasiano per- 
misisset. In eundem modum et Mucianus composuit 
epistulas ; quibus plerumque fidere Vitellius ac de 
numero servorum, electione litorum loqui. Tanta 
torpedo invaserat animum ut, si principem eum fuisse 
ceteri non meminissent, ipse oblivisceretur. 

LXIV. At primores civitatis Flavium Sabinum 
praefectum urbis secretis sermonibus incitabant, vic- 
toriae famaeque partem capesseret : esse illi proprium 
militem cohortium urbanarum, nee defuturas vigiluni 
cohortis, servitia ipsoruni, fortunam partium, et 
omnia prona victoribus : ne Antonio Varoque de 
gloria concederet. Paucas Vitellio cohortis et maestis 
undique nuntiis trepidas : })opuli mobilem animum 
et, si ducem se praebuisset, easdem illas adulationes 
pro Vespasiano fore ; ipsum \'itellium ne prosperis 
quidein parem, adeo ruentibus debilitatum. Gratiam 
patrati belli j)enes eum qui urbem occupasset : id 

1 The vigiles acted both as city police and as firemen. 
436 



BOOK III. Lxiii.-Lxiv. 

the same time some of the victorious legions Avere 
left behind, not to oppress the Vitellians if they 
remained quiet, but in sufficient strength to meet 
any rebellious movement. During this time An- 
tonius and Varus did not fail to send frequent 
messages to Vitellius offering him safety, money, 
and a retreat in Campania, provided he would lay 
down his arms and give himself and his children 
up to V^espasian. Mucianus also wrote to him to 
the same effect ; and Vitellius was often inclined to 
trust these proposals and spoke of the number of 
slaves he should take with him and the place he 
should choose for his retreat. Such a lethargy had 
fallen on his spirit that, but for others remembering 
that he had been emperor, he would have forgotten 
it himself. 

LXIV. On the other hand, the leading citizens 
began secretly to urge Flavius Sabinus, the city 
prefect, to claim his share of victory and glory, 
" You have," they said, "your own military force in 
the city cohorts, and the cohorts of the police ^ also 
will not fail you, nor will our slaves ; in your favour 
are the good fortune of the Flavian party and the 
readiness with which all things become easy for the 
winning side. Do not yield in glory to Antonius 
and Varus. Vitellius has only a few cohorts, and 
those are in a panic because of the gloomy news 
from every quarter. The people are fickle, and if 
you but offer yourself as their leader, they will 
bestow the same flattery on Vespasian that they 
have bestowed on Vitellius, while Vitellius himself, 
unable to bear even success, is still more enfeebled 
by disaster. Gratitude for ending the war will 
belong to the man who seizes the city. It is for 

437 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Sabino convenire ut imperiiim fratri reservaret, id 
Vespasiano ut ceteri post Sabinum haberentur. 

LXV. Haudquaquam erecto animo eas voces acci- 
piebat, invalidus senecta^; sed ^ erant qui occultis 
suspicionibus incesserent, tamquam invidia-' et aemu- 
latione fortunam fratris moraretur. Namque Flavius 
Sabinus aetate prior privatis utriusque rebus auctori- 
tate pecuniaque Vespasianum anteibat, et credebatur 
adfectam eius fidem parce iuvisse^ dorao agrisque 
pignori acceptis ; unde, quamquam manente in 
speciem concordia, offensarum operta metuebantur. 
Melior interpretation mitem virum abhorrere a san- 
guine et caedibus, eoque crebris cum Yitellio 
sermonibus de pace ponendisque per condicionem 
armis agitare. Saepe domi congressi, postremo in 
aede Apollinis^ ut fama fuit^ pepigere. Verba 
vocesque duos testis habebantj Cluvium Rufum et 
Silium Italicum : vultus procul visentibus notabantur^ 
Vitellii proiectus et degener, Sabinus non insultans 
et miseranti propior.^ 

LXVT. Quod si tarn facile suorum mentis flexisset 
Vitellius, quam ipse cesserat, incruentam urbem 
Vespasiani exercitus intrasset. Ceterum ut quisque 
V'itellio fidus, ita pacem et condiciones abnuebant, 

1 Scqmcntur in Medico seu ferebatur lecticula (c. 67) . . . 
in Capitolium accivit (c. 69) : verum ordinem restituit 
Pideolanus. 

2 sed Haasc : seu M. 
' invidiae M. 

* parce iuvisse Halm : praeiuvisse M. 
^ proprior J/. 

^ Built by Augustus on the Palatine. 

2 Governor of Spain. Cf. i. 8 ; ii. 58, 65. 

' The author of the extant epic Punica. 

438 



BOOK III. i.xiv.-Lxvi. 

you to guard the impei'ial power for your brother, 
for Vespasian to put you before all others." 

LXV. Sabinus, however, listened to such appeals 
without enthusiasm, for he was impaired by old 
age. Indeed there were some who attacked him, 
covertly insinuating that, prompted by ill-will and 
envy, he was inclined to delay his brother's success. 
For Sabinus was the elder, and so long as they were 
both private citizens, he was superior to Vespasian 
in influence and fortune ; moreover, there was a 
report that once, when Vespasian's credit had been 
affected, Sabinus had given him some scanty 
assistance and taken a mortgage on his city house 
and farms for security. So then, in spite of the 
apparent cordial feeling between them, there was 
a fear of secret misunderstandings. A kinder 
explanation of his hesitation is that he was a gentle 
spirit who shrank from blood and slaughter, and 
for this reason he discussed many times with Vitellius 
the question of peace and of laying down his arms 
under terms. They had frequent private interviews ; 
finally, as the story went, they came to an agreement 
in the temple of Apollo.^ Only two men, Cluvius 
Rufus - and Silius Italicus,^ actually witnessed their 
words and statements ; but those who were at a 
distance marked their faces and noted that Vitellius 
seemed downcast and humiliated, while Sabinus had 
a look of pity rather than of triumph. 

LXVI. Now if Vitellius could have persuaded his 
followers to withdraw as easily as he brought himself 
to do so, V^espasian's army would have entered the 
city without bloodshed. But as it was, his most 
faithful adherents rejected peace and terms with 
their opponents, pointing out that in such a policy 

439 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

discrimen ac dedecus ostentantes et fidem in libidine 
victoris. Nee tantam Vespasiano siiperbiam iit 
j)rivatum \'itellium pateretur, ne victos quidem 
laturos : ita^ periculum ex misericordia. Ipsum sane 
senem^ et prosperis adversisque satiatum, sed quod 
nomen, quern statum filio eius Germanico fore ? 
Nunc pecuniani et familiani et beatos Campaniae 
sinus promitti : set ubi imperium Vespasianus in- 
vaserit, non ipsi, non amicis eius, non denique 
exercitibus securitatem nisi extincto aemulatore 
redituram. Fabium illis Valentem, captivum et 
casibus dubiis^ reservatum^ praegravem fuisse, nedum 
Primus ac Fuscus et specimen partium Mucianus 
uUam in Vitellium nisi Decidendi licentiam habeant. 
Non a Caesare Pompeium, non ab Augusto Antonium 
incolumis relictos, nisi forte V^espasianus altiores 
spiritus gerat, Vitellii cliens, cum Vitellius coUega 
Claudio foret. Quin, ut censuram patris, ut tres* 
eonsulatuSj ut tot egregiae domus honores deceret,^ 
desperatione saltem in audaciam^ aceingeretur. Per- 
stare militem, superesse studia populi ; denique nihil 
atroeius eventurum quam in quod sponte ruant. 

^ laurosita M. 2 sanem M. 

^ captiuiu et captis dieljus M. * ut res M. 

^ degerct M. ^ aiulacia M. 

^ Neither statement is true. 

'' Possibly Vespasian owed something to the influence of 
L. Vitellius, the father of Vitellius, who had been a 
colleague of Claudius in the consulship 43 a.d. and in the 
censorship 47—51. 

440 



BOOK III. Lxvi. 

lay danger and disgrace, and that they had only the 
victor's caprice as guarantee. " Vespasian has not 
self-assurance enough," they said, "to endure 
Vitellius as a private citizen, and not even the 
defeated party will allow it : their pity will be a 
source of danger. It is true that you are an old 
man yourself, who has had his fill of success and 
adversity ; but what name and position is your son 
Germanicus to have? At this moment they promise 
you money, slaves, and delightful retreats in 
Campania. But when Vespasian has once grasped 
the imperial power, neither he nor his friends nor 
even his army will feel that they have any security 
unless his rival is destroyed. Fabius Valens, though 
a captive, reserved as a hostage for a possible crisis, 
has proved too great a burden for his captors. 
Will Primus and Fuscus or that leading representa- 
tive of their party, Mucianus, have any liberty in 
dealing with you except the liberty of killing .'' 
Caesar did not leave Pompey unharmed or Augustus 
Antony.^ What hope is there now for you, unless 
perchance Vespasian has a loftier soul — this Ves- 
pasian, who once was a client of a Vitellius, when 
a Vitellius was colleague of Claudius.^ No. You 
must prove yourself worthy of your father's censor- 
ship, of the three consulships,^ and all the honours 
belonging to your famous house. In desperation 
at least you must gird yourself to bold action. 
The soldiers are loyal, the people enthusiastic in 
their support. Finally, nothing worse can happen 
than that to which we are rushing of our free will. 

* L. Vitellius was consul in 43 and 47 a.d. according to 
Suet. Vitell. 2 ; the date of his third consulship is unknown. 
Cf. i. 52. 

441 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Moriendum victis, moriendum deditis : id solum 
refeiTCj novissimum spiritum per ludibrium et con- 
tumelias effundant an per virtutem. 

LXVII. Surdae ad fortia consilia Vitellio aures : 
obruebatur animus miseratione curaquCj ne pertinaci- 
bus armis minus placabilem victorem relinqueret 
coniugi ac liberis. Erat illi et fessa aetate parens ; 
quae tamen paucis ante diebus opportuna morte 
excidium domus praevenit, nihil principatu filii adse- 
cuta nisi luctum et bonam famam. XV kalendas 
lanuarias audita defectione legionis cohortiumque/ 
quae se Narniae dediderant, pullo amictu Palatio 
degreditur, maesta circum familia ^ ; ferebatur ^ lec- 
ticula parvulus filius velut in funebrem pompam ; 
voces populi blandae et intempestivae, miles minaci 
silentio, 

LXVIII. Nee quisquam adeo rerum humanarum 
immemor quem non commoveret ilia facies, Romanum 
principem et generis humani paulo ante dominum 
relieta fortunae suae sede per populum, per urbem 
exire de imperio. Nihil tale viderant, nihil audierant. 
Repentina vis dictatorem Caesarem oppresserat, 
occultae Gaium insidiae, nox et ignotum rus fugam 
Neronis absconderant, Piso et Galba tamquam in 

1 legiones cohortium quaeque J/. ^ famia M. 

' seu ferebatur M, ride ad c. 65. 

442 



BOOK in. Lxvi.-Lxviii. 

We must die if conquered ; die likewise if we 
surrender. The only question is whether we shall 
breathe our last breath amid mockery and insults or 
in valorous action." 

LXVII. Vitellius's ears were deaf to all sterner 
counsels. His mind was overwhelmed by pity 
and anxiety for his wife and children, since he 
feared that if he made an obstinate struggle, he 
might leave the victor less mercifully disposed 
toward them. He had also his mother, who was 
bowed with years ; but through an opportune death 
she anticipated by a few days the destruction of her 
house, having gained nothing from the elevation 
of her son to the principate but sorrow and good 
repute. On December eighteenth, when Vitellius 
heard of the defection of the legion and cohorts 
that had given themselves up at Narnia, he put 
on mourning and came down from his palace, 
surrounded by his household in tears ; his little son 
was carried in a litter as if in a funeral procession. 
The voices of the people were flattering and 
untimely ; the soldiers maintained an ominous 
silence. 

LXVni. There was no one so indifferent to human 
fortunes as not to be moved by this sight. Here 
was a Roman emperor who, but yesterday lord of 
all mankind, now, abandoning the seat of his high 
fortune, was going through the midst of the people 
and the heart of the city to give up his imperial 
power. Men had never seen or heard the like 
before. A sudden violent act had crushed the 
dictator Caesar, a secret plot the emperor Gaius ; 
night and the obscurity of the country had concealed 
the flight of Nero ; Piso and Galba had fallen, so 

443 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

acie cecidere : in sua contione VitelliuSj inter suos 
milites, prospectantibus etiam feminis, pauca et 
praesenti maestitiae congruentia locutus — cedere se 
pacis et rei publicae causa, retinerent tantum 
memoriam sui fratremque et coniugem et innoxiam 
liberorum aetatem miserarentur — simul filium pro- 
tendens, modo singulis modo universis commendans, 
postremo fletu praepediente adsistenti consuli (Cae- 
cilius Simplex erat) exsolutum a latere pugionem, 
velut ius necis vitaeque civium, reddebat. Asper- 
nante consule, reclaniantibus qui in contione adsti- 
terant, ut in aede Concordiae positurus insignia 
imperii domumque fratris petiturus discessit. Maior 
hie clamor obsistentium penatibus privatis^ in Pala- 
tium vocantium. Interclusum ^ aliud iter, idque 
solum quo 2 in sacram viam pergeret patebat : turn 
consilii inops in Palatium rediit. 

LXIX. Praevenerat rumor eiurari^ ab eo imperium, 
scripseratque Flavius Sabinus cohortium tribunis ut 
militem cohiberent. Igitur tamquam omnis res 
publica in Vespasiani sinum cecidisset, primores 
senatus et plerique equestris ordinis omnisque miles 
ux'banus et vigiles domum Flavii Sabini complevere. 
llluc de studiis vulgi et minis Germanicarum cohor- 
tium adfertur. Longius iam progressus erat quam 

1 inter clausuni M. - quod M. 

^ iurari ^f. 

1 Cf. ii. 60. 
•That is, three cohorts made up of soldiers from the 
German army. Cf. ii. 93flf. 

444 



BOOK III. Lxviii.-Lxix. 

to say, on the field of battle. But now V^itellius, in 
an assembly called by himself, surrounded by his 
own soldiers, while even women looked on, spoke 
briefly and in a manner befitting his present sad 
estate, saying that he withdrew for the sake of 
peace and his country ; he asked the people simply 
to remember him and to have pity on his brother, 
his wife, and his innocent young children. As he 
spoke, he held out his young son in his arms, com- 
mending him now to one or another, again to the 
whole assembly ; finally, when tears choked his voice, 
taking his dagger from his side he offered it to the 
consul who stood beside him, as if surrendering his 
power of life and death over the citizens. The 
consul's name was Caecilius Simplex.^ When he 
refused it and the assembled people cried out in 
protest, Vitellius left them with the intention of 
depositing the imperial insignia in the Temple of 
Concord and after that going to his brother's home. 
Thereupon the people with louder cries opposed his 
going to a private house, but called him to the 
palace. Every other path was blocked against him ; 
the only road open was along the Sacred Way. 
Then in utter perplexity he returned to the palace. 
LXIX. The rumour had already spread abroad 
that he was abdicating, and Flavius Sabinus had 
written to the tribunes of the cohorts to hold the 
troops in check. Therefore, as if the entire state 
had fallen into \'^espasian's arms, the leading senators, 
a majority of the equestrian order, and all the city 
guards and watchmen crowded the house of Flavius 
Sabinus. Word was brought there concerning the 
temper of the people and the threats of the German 
cohorts ; ^ but by this time Sabinus had already gone 

445 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

ut regredi posset ; et suo quisque metu, ne disiectos 
eoque minus validos V'itelliani consectarentur, cunc- 
tantem in arma impellebant : sed quod in eius modi 
rebus aceidit^ consilium ab omnibus datum est, peri- 
culum pauci sumpsere. Circa lacum Fundani de- 
scendentibus qui Sabinum coraitabantur armatis 
occurrunt promptissimi Vitellianorum. Modicum 
ibi proelium improviso tumultu, sed prosperum 
Vitellianis fuit. Sabinus re trepida, quod tutissimum 
e praesentibus, arcem Capitolii insedit mixto milite 
et quibusdam senatorum equitumque, quorum nomina 
tradere baud ^ promptum est, quoniam victore Ves- 
pasiano multi id meritum erga partis simulavere. 
Subierunt obsidium etiam feminae, inter quas 
maxime insignis Verulana Gratilla, neque liberos 
neque jnopinquos sed bellum secuta. Vitellianus 
miles socordi custodia clausos circumdedit ; eoque 
concubia nocte suos liberos Sabinus et Domitianum 
fratris filium in Capitolium accivit, misso per neg- 
lecta ad Flavianos duces nuntio qui circumsideri 
ipsos et, ni^ subveniretur, artas res nuntiaret. Noc- 
tem adeo quietam egit ut digredi sine noxa potuerit : 
quippe miles Vitellii adversus pericula ferox, labori- 
bus et vigiliis parum intentus erat, et hibernus 
imber repente fusus oculos aurisque impediebat. 

1 aut tradere baud M. 

^ ipsos et ni Pichena : ipsos se Ini M. 

' On the Quirinal. 

^ The south-western height on the Capitoline is here meant, 
on which stood the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. 
446 



BOOK III. Lxix. 

too far to retreat ; and everyone, fearing for himself 
lest the Vitellian troops should attack the Flavians 
when scattered and therefore weak, urged the 
hesitating prefect to armed action. But, as gener- 
ally happens in sucli cases, while all gave advice, 
few faced danger. As Sabinus and his armed retinue 
were coming down by the reservoir of Fundanus,'^ 
they were met by the most eager of the supporters 
of Vitellius. The conflict was of trifling importance, 
for the encounter was unforeseen, but it was favour- 
able to the V^itellian forces. In his uncertainty 
Sabinus chose the easiest course under the circum- 
stances and occupied the citadel on the Capitoline ^ 
with a miscellaneous body of soldiers, and with 
some senators and knights, whose names it is not 
easy to report, since after Vespasian's victory many 
claimed to have rendered this service to his party. 
Some women even faced the siege ; the most 
prominent among them was Verulana Gratilla, who 
was not following children or relatives but Avas 
attracted by the fascination of war. While the 
Vitellians besieged Sabinus and his companions 
they kept only a careless watch ; therefore in the 
depth of night Sabinus called his own sons and 
his nephew Domitian into the Capitol. He suc- 
ceeded also in sending a messenger through his 
opponents' slack pickets to the Flavian generals to 
report that they were besieged and in a difficult 
situation unless help came. In fact the night was so 
quiet that Sabinus could have escaped himself with- 
out danger ; for the soldiers of Vitellius, while ready 
to face dangers, had little regard for hard work and 
picket duty ; besides a sudden downpour of winter 
rain rendered seeing and hearing difficult. 

447 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

LXX. Luce prima Sabinus, antequam in vicem 
hostilia coeptarent, Cornelium Martialem e primipi- 
laribus ad Vitellium misit cum mandatis et questu 
quod pacta turbarentur : simulationem prorsus et 
imaginem deponendi imperii fuisse ad decipiendos 
tot inlustris viros. Cur enim e rostris fratris domum, 
imminentem foro et inritandis hominum oculis, quam 
Aventinum et penatis uxoris petisset ? Ita private et 
omnem principatus speciem vitanti convenisse.^ 
Contra V^itellium in Palatium, in ipsam imperii 
arcem regressum ; inde armatum agmen emissum, 
stratam innocentium caedibus celeberrimam urbis 
partem, ne Capitolio quidem abstineri. Togatum 
nempe se et unum e senatoribus : dum inter Ves- 
pasianum ac Vitellium proeliis legionum, captivitati- 
bus^ urbium, deditionibus cohortium iudicatur, iam 
Hispaniis Germaniisque et Britannia desciscentibus, 
fratrem Vespasiani mansisse in fide, donee ultro ad 
condiciones vocaretur, Pacem et concordiam victis 
utilia, victoribus tantum pulchra esse. Si con- 
vcntionis paeniteat, non se, quern ^ perfidia deceperit, 
ferro peteret, non filium Vespasiani vix puberem — 
quantum occisis uno sene et uno iuvene profici ? — : 
iret obviam legionibus et de summa rerum illic 
certaret : cetera secundum eventum proelii cessura. 
Ti'epidus ad haec \'itellius pauca purgandi sui causa 



^ conteinnisse M. ^ captivitatus M. 

^ seque J/. 



448 



BOOK III. Lxx. 

LXX. At daybreak, before hostilities could begin 
on either side, Sabinus sent Cornelius Martialis, a 
centurion of the first rank, to Vitellius with orders to 
complain that he had broken their agreement. This 
was his message : " You have made simply a pretence 
and show of abdicating in order to deceive all these 
eminent men. For why did you go from the rostra to 
your brother's house which overlooks the Forum and 
invites men's eyes, rather than to the Aventine and 
to your wife's home there P That was the action 
proper to a private citizen who wished to avoid all 
the show that attaches to the principate. On the 
contrary, you went back to the palace, to the very 
citadel of the imperial power. From there an armed 
band has issued ; the most crowded part of the city 
has been strewn Mith the bodies of innocent men ; 
even the Capitol is not spared. I, Sabinus, am of 
course only a civilian and a single senator. So long 
as the question between Vespasian and Vitellius was 
being adjudged by battles between the legions, by 
the capture of cities and the surrender of cohorts, 
although the Spains, the Germanics, and Britain fell 
away, I, Vespasian's own brother, still remained 
faithful to you until I was invited to a conference. 
Peace and concord are advantageous to the defeated ; 
to the victors they are only glorious. If you regret 
your agreement, you should not attack me Avhoni 
your treachery has deceived, or Vespasian's son, who 
is as yet hardly more than a child. What is the 
advantage in killing one old man and one youth ? 
You should rather go and face the legions and fight 
in the field for the supremacy. Everything else will 
follow the issue of the battle." Vitellius was dis- 
turbed by these words and made a brief reply to 

449 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

respondit, culpam in militem conferens, cuius nimio 
ardori^ imparem esse modestiam suam ; et monuit 
Martialem ut per secretam aedium partem occulta 
abiret, ne a^ militibus internuntius iiivisae pacis 
interficeretur : ipse neque iubendi neque vetandi 
potens non iam imperator sed tantum belli causa 
erat. 

LXXI. Vixdum regresso in Capitolium Martiale 
furens miles aderat, nullo duce, sibi quisque auctor. 
Cito agmine forum et imminentia foro templa prae- 
tervecti erigunt aciem per adversum collem usque ad 
primas Capitolinae arcis fores. Erant antiquitus 
porticus in latere clivi dextrae subeuntibus, in 
quarum tectum egressi saxis tegulisque Vitellianos 
obruebant. Neque illis manus nisi gladiis armatae, 
et arcessere tormenta aut missilia tela longum vide- 
batur : faces in prominentem porticum iecere et 
sequebantur ignem ambustasque Capitolii fores pene- 
trassent, ni Sabinus revulsas undique statuas, decora 
maiorum, in ipso aditu vice muri obiecisset. Turn 
diversos Capitolii aditus invadunt iuxta lucum asyli 
et qua Tarpeia rupes centum gradibus aditur. Im- 
provisa utraque vis ; propior atque acrior per asylum 
ingruebat. Nee sisti poterant scandentes per con- 

^ nimio ardori Puteolanus : nimius ardor M. 
^ a. om. M. 

^ In the saddle between the two peaks of the Capitoline hill, 
where, according to tradition, Romulus had established a 
refuge. It is to-day the Piazza del Campidoglio. 

'^ At the south-western point of the hill. 

45° 



BOOK III. Lxx.-Lxxi. 

excuse himself^ putting the blame on his soldiers, 
with whose excessive ardour, he declared, his own 
moderation could not cope. At the same time he 
advised Martialis to go away privately through a 
secret part of the palace, that the soldiers might not 
kill him as the mediator of a peace which they 
detested. As for himself, he was powerless to order 
or to forbid ; he was no longer emperor, but only a 
cause of war. 

LXXI. Martialis had hardly returned to the 
Capitol when the soldiers arrived in fui*y. They had 
no leader ; each directed his own movements. 
Rushing through the Forum and past the temples 
that rise above it, they advanced in column up the 
hill, as far as the first gates of the Capitoline citadel. 
There were then some old colonnades on the right as 
you go up the slopes ; the defenders came out on the 
roofs of these and showered stones and tiles on their 
assailants. The latter had no arms except their swords, 
and they thought that it would cost too much time 
to send for artillery and missiles ; consequently they 
threw firebrands on a projecting colonnade, and then 
followed in the path of the Hames ; they actually 
burned the gates of the Capitol and would have 
forced their way through, if Sabinus had not torn 
down all the statues, memorials to the glory of our 
ancestors, and piled them up across the entrance as 
a barricade. Then the assailants tried different 
approaches to the Capitol, one by the grove of the 
asylum ^ and another by the hundred steps that lead 
up to the Tarpeian Rock.^ Both attacks were un- 
expected ; but the one by the asylum was closer and 
more threatening. Moreover, the defenders were 
unable to stop those who climbed through neighbour- 

451 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

iuiicta aedificia, quae ut in niulta pace in altum edita 
solum ^ Capitolii aequabant. Hie ambigitur, ignem 
tectis obpugnatores iniecerint, an obsessi, quae 
crebrior fama^ dum nitentis ac j)rogressos depellunt.^ 
Inde lapsus ignis in porticus adpositas aedibus ; mox 
sustinentes fastigium aquilae vetere ^ ligno traxerunt 
flammani alueruntque. Sic Ca])itolium clausis foribus 
indefensum et indireptum conflagravit. 

LXXII. Id facinus post conditam urbem luctuosis- 
simum foedissimumque rei publicae populi Romani 
accidit^ nullo externo hoste, propitiis, si per mores 
nostros liceret, deis^ sedem lovis Optinii * Maximi 
auspicate a maioribus pignus imperii conditam^ quam 
non Porsenna dedita urbe neque Galli capta temerare 
potuissent, furore principum excindi. Arserat et 
ante Capitolium civili bello, sed fraude privata : nunc 
palam obsessum, palam incensum^ quibus armorum 
eausis ? Quo tantae cladis pretio ? Stetit dum^ pro 
patria bellavimus. V^overat Tarquinius Priscus rex 
bello Sabino, ieceratque fundamenta spe magis 
futurae magnitudinis quam quo modicae adhuc populi 
Romani res sufficerent. Mox Servius Tullius socio- 

^ sonum M. 

^ fama . . . depellunt Heraeus : famam . . . depulerint M. 

^ vertere M. * optimum J/. ^ dum add. Haase. 



^ Apparently supports, shaped in the form of eagles. 

2 507 B.C. 3 3g7 u.c. 

* During the struggle between Marius and Sulla, 83 B.C. 



452 



BOOK III. Lxxi.-Lxxii. 

ihg houses, which, built high in time of peace, reached 
the level of the Capitol. It is a question here 
whether it was the besiegers or the besieged who 
threw fire on the roofs. The more common tradition 
says this was done by the latter in their attempts to 
repel their assailants, who were climbing up or had 
reached the top. From the houses the fire spread 
to the colonnades adjoining the temple ; then the 
"eagles" which supported the roof, being of old 
wood, caught and fed the flames.^ So the Capitol 
burned with its doors closed ; none defended it, 
none pillaged it. 

LXXII. This was the saddest and most shameful 
crime that the Roman state had ever suffered since 
its foundation. Rome had no foreign foe ; the gods 
were ready to be propitious if our characters had 
allowed ; and yet the home of Jupiter Optimus 
Maximus, founded after due auspices by our ancestors 
as a pledge of empire, which neither Porsenna, when 
the city gave itself up to him,^ nor the Gauls when 
they captured it,^ could violate — this was the shrine 
that the mad fury of emperors destroyed ! The 
Capitol had indeed been burned before in civil war,* 
but the crime was that of private individuals. Now 
it was openly besieged, openly burned — and what 
w^ere the causes that led to arms .'' What was the 
price paid for this great disaster ? This temple 
stood intact so long as we fought for our country. 
King Tarquinius Priscus had vowed it in the war with 
the Sabines and had laid its foundations rather to 
match his hope of future greatness than in accordance 
with what the fortunes of the Roman people, still 
moderate, could supply. Later the building was 
begun by Servius TuUius with the enthusiastic help 

453 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

rum studio, dein Tarquinius Superbus capta Suessa 
Pometia hostium spoliis exstruxere. Sed gloria 
operis libertati reservata : pulsis regibus Horatius 
Pulvillus iterum consul dedicavit ea magnificentia 
quam immensae {)ostea poj^uli Romani opes ornarent 
potius quam augerent. Isdem rursus vestigiis situm 
est, postquam interiecto quadringentorum quindecim 
annorum spatio L. Scipione C. Norbaiio consulibus^ 
flagraverat. Curam victor Sulla suscepit, neque 
tamen dedicavit: hoc solum felicitati eius negatum. 
Lutatii Catuli nomen inter tanta ^ Caesarum opera 
usque ad Vitellium mansit. Ea tunc aedes crema- 
batur. 

LXXIII. Sed plus pavoris obsessis quam obsessori- 
bus intulit. Quippe Vitellianus miles neque astu 
neque constantia inter dubia indigebat : ex diverso 
trepidi milites, dux segnis et velut captus animi non 
lingua, non auribus competere, neque alienis consiliis 
regi neque sua expedire, hue illuc clamoribus hostium 
circumagi, quae iusserat vetare, quae vetuerat iubere : 
mox, quod in perditis rebus accidit, omnes praecipere, 
nemo exsequi ; postremo abiectis armis fugam et 
fallendi artis circumspectabant. Inrumpunt Vitelliani 
et cuncta sanguine ferro flammisque miscent. Pauci 

1 norbanacos .V. ^ ta M. 



^ On the history of the Capitol, see Livy, Book I. 38. 
53. 55. 

' Actually 425 years. 

3 As Sulla himself said. Pliny, xV. ff. vii. 138. 

* Who dedicated the new temple in 69 B.C. Although 
Augustus spent great sums on the decoration of the Capitol, 
he did not displace the inscription containing the name of 
Catulus. 

454 



BOOK III. LXXII.-LXXIII. 

of Rome's allies, and afterwards carried on by 
Tarquinius Superbus with the spoils taken from the 
enemy at the capture of Suessa Pometia. But the 
glory of comjileting the work was reserved for liberty : 
after the expulsion of the kings, Horatius Pulvillus 
in his second consulship dedicated it ; and its 
magnificence was such that the enormous wealth 
of the Roman people acquired thereafter adorned 
rather than increased its splendour.^ The temple 
was built again on the same spot when after an 
interval of four hundred and fifteen years it had been 
burned in the consulship of Lucius Scipio and Gaius 
Norbanus.^ The victorious Sulla undertook the 
work, but still he did not dedicate it ; that was the 
only thing that his good fortune was refused. ^ 
Amid all the great works built by the Caesars the 
name of Lutatius Catulus"* kept its place down to 
Vitellius's day. This was the temple that then was 
burned. 

LXXIII. However, the fire terrified the besieged 
more than the besiegers, for the Vitellian troops 
lacked neither skill nor courage in the midst of 
danger. But on the opposing side, the soldiers 
were frightened, the commander, as if stricken, 
could neither speak nor hear ; he would not be 
guided by others' advice or plan for himself; swayed 
this way and that by the enemies' shouts, he forbade 
what he had just ordered, ordered what he had just 
forbidden. Presently, as happens in time of despera- 
tion, all gave commands, none obeyed them ; finally 
they threw away their arms and began to look about 
for an opportunity to flee and a way to hide from 
their foes. The Vitellians broke in and wrought utter 
carnage with fire and sword. A few experienced 

455 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

militarium virorum, inter quos maxime insignes 
Cornelius Martialis, Aemilius Pacensis, Casperius 
Niger, Didius Scaeva, pugnam ausi obtruncantur. 
Flavium Sabinum inermem neque fugam coeptantem 
circumsistunt, et Quintium Atticum consulem^ umbra 
honoris et suamet vanitate monstratum, quod edicta 
in populum pro Vespasiano magnifica, probrosa 
adversus Vitellium iecerat. Ceteri per varios casus 
elapsi, quidam servili habitu, alii fide clientium pro- 
tecti ^ et inter sarcinas abditi. Fuere qui excepto 
Vitellianorum signo, quo inter se noscebantur, ultro 
rogitantes respondentesve audaciam pro latebra 
haberent. 

LXXIV. Domitianus prima inruptione apud aedi- 
tuum occultatus, sollertia liberti lineo amictu turbae 
sacricolajrum immixtus ignoratusque, apud Cornelium 
Primum paternum clientem iuxta Velabrum delituit. 
Ac potiente rerum patre, disiecto aeditui contubernio, 
modicum sacellum lovi Conservatori aramque posuit 
casus suos in marmore expressam ; mox imperium 
adeptus lovi Custodi templum ingens seque in sinu 
dei sacravit. Sabinus et Atticus onerati catenis et 
ad Vitellium ducti nequaquam infesto. sermone 

^ protecti Nipperdey : contecti M. 

* One of the consuls for November and December. 
2 There was a shrine of the Egyptian goddess Isis on the 
Capitol. 



BOOK III. LXXIII.-LXXIV. 

soldiers^ among whom Cornelius Martialis, Aemilius 
Pacensis, Casperius Niger, and Didius Scaeva were 
the most distinguished, dared to fight and were 
killed. Flavius Sabinus, who was unarmed and did 
not attempt to flee, the Vitellians surrounded ; they 
likewise took Quintus Atticus, the consul.^ He was 
marked out by his empty title and his own folly, for 
he had issued proclamations to the people, in which 
he had spoken in eulogistic terms of Vespasian, but 
had insulted V^itellius. The rest of the defenders 
escaped in a variety of ways, some dressed as slaves, 
others protected by their faithful clients and hidden 
among the baggage ; there were some who caught 
the password by which the Vitellians recognised one 
another, and then, taking the lead in asking it or 
giving it on demand, found a refuge in audacity. 

LXXIV. Domitian was concealed in the lodging 
of a temple attendant when the assailants broke into 
the citadel ; then through the cleverness of a freed- 
man he was dressed in a linen robe and so was 
able to join the crowd of devotees ^ without being 
recognized and to escape to the house of Cornelius 
Primus, one of his father's clients, near the Velabrum, 
where he remained in concealment. When his 
father came to power, Domitian tore down the 
lodging of the temple attendant and built a small 
chapel to Jupiter the Preserver with an altar on 
which his escape was represented in a marble relief. 
Later, when he had himself gained the imperial 
throne, he dedicated a great temple to Jupiter the 
Guardian, with his own effigy in the lap of the god. 
Sabinus and Atticus were loaded with chains and 
taken before Vitellius, who received them with no 
angry word or look, although the crowd cried out 

457 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

vultuque excipiuntur, frementibus qui ius caedis et 
pvaemia navatae ^ operae petebant. Clamore a ^ 
proximis orto sordida pars plebis supplicium Sabini 
exposcit, minas adulationesque miscet. Stantem pro 
gradibus Palatii Vitellium et preces parantem per- 
vicere ut absisteret : turn confossum conlaceratumque 
et absciso capite truncum corpus Sabini in Gemonias 
traliunt. 

I.XX\^ Hie exitus viri baud sane spernendi. 
Quinque et triginta stipendia in re publica fecerat, 
domi miUtiaeque clarus. Innocentiam iustitiamque 
eius non argueres ; sermonis nimius erat : id unum 
septem annis quibus Moesiam, duodecim quibus 
praefecturam urbis obtinuit, calumniatus est rumor. 
In fine vitae alii segnem, multi moderatum et 
civium sanguinis parcum credidere. Quod inter 
ononis constiteritj ante principatum Vespasiani decus 
domus penes Sabinum erat. Caedem eius laetara 
fuisse Muciano accepimus. Ferebant plerique etiam 
paci consultum dirempta ^ aemulatione inter duos, 
quorum alter se fratrem imperatoris, alter consortem 
imperii cogitaret. Sed Vitellius consulis supplicium 
poscenti populo restitit, placatus ac velut vicem 
reddens, quod interrogantibus quis Capitolium in- 

^ enovatae M. - a 07n. M. ^ direpla M. 



' A flight of steps leading from the Capitol to the Forum, 
on which the bodies of executed criminals were exposed. 

458 



BOOK III. LXXIV.-LXXV. 

in rage, asking for the right to kill them and 
demanding rewards for accomplishing this task. 
Those who stood nearest were the first to raise these 
cries, and then the lowest plebeians with mingled 
flattery and threats began to demand the punishment 
of Sabinus. Vitellius stood on the steps of the 
palace and was about to appeal to them, when they 
forced him to withdraw. Then they ran Sabinus 
through, mutilated him, and cut off his head, after 
which they dragged his headless body to the 
Gemonian stairs.^ 

LXXV. Thus died a man who was far from being 
despicable. He had served the state for thirty-five 
years, winning distinction in both civil and military 
life. His upright character and justice were above 
criticism ; but he talked too easily. This was the 
only thing that mischievous gossip could say against 
him in the seven years during which he governed 
Moesia or in the twelve years while he was prefect 
of the city. At the end of his life some thought 
that he lacked energy, many believed him moderate 
and desirous of sparing the blood of his fellow- 
citizens. In any case all agree that up to the time 
that Vespasian became emperor the reputation of 
the house depended on Sabinus. According to 
report his death gave Mucianus pleasure. Most men 
felt that his death was in the interests of peace also, 
for it disposed of the rivalry between the two men, 
one of whom thought of himself as the brother of the 
emperor, the other as a partner in the imperial 
power. liut Vitellius resisted the people when they 
demanded the punishment of the consul, since he felt 
kindly toward Atticus, and wished, as it were, to 
repay him ; for when people asked who had set fire 

459 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

cendisset,se reum Atticus obtulerat eaque confessione, 
sive aptum tempori ^ mendacium fuit, invidiam cri- 
menque agnovisse et a partibus Vilellii amolitus 
videbatur. 

LXXVI. Isdem diebus L. Vitellius positis apud 
Feroniam castris excidio Tarracinae imminebat, 
clausis illic gladiatoribus remigibusque, qui non 
egredi moenia neque periculum in aperto audebant. 
Praeerat, ut supra memoravimus, lulianus gladia- 
toribus, Apollinaris remigibus, lascivia socordiaque 
gladiatorum magis quam ducum similes. Non 
vigilias agere, non intuta moenium firmare : noctu 
dieque fluxi et amoena litorum personantes, in 
ministerium luxus dispersis militibus, de bello tantum 
inter convivia loquebantur. Paucos ante dies dis- 
cesserat Apinius Tiro donisque ac pecuniis acerbe 
per municipia conquirendis plus invidiae quam virium 
partibus addebat. 

LXXVII. Interim ad L. Vitellium servus Verginii^ 
Capitonis perfugit pollicitusque, si praesidium acci- 
peret, vacuam arcem traditurum, multa nocte 
cohortis expeditas summis montium iugis super caput 
hostium sistit : inde miles ad caedem magis quam 
ad pugnam decurrit. Sternunt inermos aut arma 
capientis et quosdam somno excitos, cum tenebris, 

1 temporis M. - Verginii Pateolanus : vergilii M. 

^ Three miles from Tarracina. * Cf. chap. 67. 

460 



BOOK III. LXXV.-LXXVII. 

to the Capitol, Atticus had assumed the guilt, and 
by this confession — or possibly it was a falsehood to 
meet the situation — seemed to have accepted the 
odium of the crime and to have freed the party of 
Vitellius. 

LXXVI. During these same days Lucius Vitellius, 
who had pitched camp at Feronia,^ threatened to 
destroy Tarracina, where he had shut up the 
gladiators and seamen, who did not dare to leave 
their walls or to run any risks in open ground. As 
I have stated above,^ Julianus commanded the 
gladiators, Apollinaris the crews, but the profligate 
habits and lazy characters of both these made them 
seem more like gladiators than leaders. No watch 
was kept ; no effort made to strengthen the weak 
parts of the walls. Day and night they wandered 
about, making the pleasant parts of the shore echo 
with the noise of their festivals ; their soldiers were 
scattered to seek materials for their pleasures, while 
the leaders talked of war only at their dinners. A 
few days earlier Apinius Tiro had left Tarracina, and 
now was gaining more unpopularity- than strength 
for his cause by the harsh way in which he collected 
gifts and money in the towns. 

LXXVII. In the meantime a slave of Verginius 
Capito escaped to Lucius Vitellius and promised that 
if he could have a force, he would hand over the 
citadel, which was empty. Accordingly, late at 
night he guided some light cohorts and got them on 
the heights above their foes; from this position 
they poured down to massacre rather than to fight. 
They slew their opponents, some unarmed, others 
just taking their arms, and some just roused from 
sleep, while all were confused by the darkness, the 

461 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

pavore, sonitu tubarum, clamore liostili turbarentur. 
Pauci gladiatorum resistentes neque inulti cecidere : 
ceteri ad navis ruebant, ubi cuncta pari formidine 
implicabantur, permixtis pagaiiis, quos nullo dis- 
criinine Vitelliani trucidabant. Sex Libuinicae intei" 
primum tumultum evasere, in quis praefectus 
classis Apollinaris ; reliquae ^ in litore captae, aut- 
niniio ruentium onere pressas mire liausit. lulianus 
ad L. Vitellium perduetus et verberibus foedatus in 
ore eius iugulatur. Fuere qui uxorem L. Vitellii 
Triariam incesserent, tamquam gladio militari cincta^ 
inter luctum cladisque exj)ugnatae Tarracinae 
supeibe saeveque egisset. Ipse lauream gestae 
prospere rei ad fratrem misit, percontatus statini 
regredi se an perdomandae Campaniae insistere 
iuberet. Quod salutare non modo partibus Ves- 
pasiani, sed rei publicae fuit. Nam si recens 
victoria miles et super insitam pervicaciam secundis 
ferox Romam co/itendisset, baud parva mole certatum 
nee sine exitio urbis foret. Quippe L. Vitellio 
quamvis infami inerat industria, nee virtutibus, ut 
boni, sed quo modo pessimus quisque, vitiis valebat. 
LXXVIII. Dum liaec in partibus \'itellii gerun- 
tur, digressus Narnia Vespasiani exercitus festos ^ 
Saturni dies Ocriculi })er otium agitabat. Causa 

' reliquas M. - ut J/. 

* cinctam J/. * festo M. 

^ Cf. chaps. 63 and 64 above. 
- Tacitus here resumes from chap. 63. 
3 Dec. 17-23. * Otricoli. 

462 



BOOK III. Lxxvii.-Lxxvm. 

terror, the sound of the trumpets, and the shouts of 
their enemies. A few of the gladiators resisted and 
fell not without vengeance on their foes. The rest 
rushed to the ships ; but there an equal panic caused 
utter confusion, for the Vitellians slew without 
distinction the townspeople who joined the soldiers 
in their flight. Six Liburnian galleys escaped at 
the first alarm with Apollinaris the prefect of the 
fleet on board ; the rest of the ships were captured 
at the shore, or else were swamped by the excessive 
weight of those who rushed on board. Julianus was 
taken before Lucius Vitellius, flogged, and slain 
before his eyes. Some accused Triaria,^ wife of 
Lucius Vitellius, with girding on a soldier's sword 
and behaving haughtily and cruelly in the horrible 
massacre that followed the capture of Tarracina. 
Vitellius himself sent laurels to his brother to 
announce his success, and at the same time asked 
whether he directed him to return or to press on to 
the conquest of Campania. The consequent delay 
helped not only Vespasian's party but the state, for 
if the troops had liurried to Rome while fresh from 
their victory and with their natural stubbornness 
confirmed by their pride over their success, the 
struggle which would have ensued could not have 
been slight, and indeed would have destroyed the 
city. For all his infamous nature, Lucius Vitellius 
possessed industry, and drew strength not like good 
men from their virtues, but like the basest from his 
vices. 

LXXVIIL While these things were happening on 
the side of Vitellius,^ Vespasian's forces left Narnia 
and quietly celebrated the Saturnalia ^ at Ocriculum.'* 
The excuse given for such unseemly delay was that 

463 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

tarn pravae morae ut Mucianum opperirentur. Nee 
defuere qui Antonium suspicionibus arguerent 
tamquam dolo cunctantem post secretas V^itellii 
epistulas, quibus consulatum et nubilem filiam et 
dotalii opes prelium proditionis oflTefebat. AUi ficta 
haec et in gratiam Muciani composita ; quidam 
omnium id ducum consilium fuisse, ostentare potius 
urbi bellum quam inferre, quando validissimae 
cohortes a Vitellio descivissent, et abscisis omnibus 
praesidiis cessurus impeiio videbatur : sed cuncta 
feslinatione, deinde ignavia Sabini coriupta, qui 
sumptis temere armis munitissimam Capitolii areem 
et ne magnis quidem exercitibus expugnabilem 
adversus tris cohortis tueri nequivisset. Haud facile 
quis uni adsignaverit culpam quae omnium fuit. Nam 
et Mucianu; ambiguis epistulis victores morabatur, 
et Antonius praeposlero obsequio, vel dum regerit^ 
invidiam, crimen meruit ; ceterique duces dum 
peractum bellum putant, finem eius insignivere. Ne 
Petilius quidem Cerialis, cum mille equitibus prae- 
missus, ut transversis itineribus per agrum Sabinum 
Salaria via urbem introiret. satis maturaverat, donee 
obsessi Capitolii fama cunctos simul exciret. 

LXXIX. Antonius per Fiaminiam ad saxa rubra 

1 regerit Piche,ia : regeret M. 

^ Apparently Tacitus here refers to the sad results of the 
inaction on the part of the Flavian leaders — the burning of 
the Capitol, the murder of Sabinus, etc. 

^ About six miles north of Rome. 

464 



BOOK III. LXXVIII.-LXXIX. 

they were waiting for Mucianus. There were also 
some who suspected Antonius, alleging that a 
treasonable purpose made him delay, after he had 
secretly received letters from Vitellius offering him 
a consulship, the hand of his daughter, and a great 
dowry as rewards for treachery on his part. Others, 
however, regarded these tales as sheer inventions 
devised for the advantage of Mucianus ; some held 
that all the leaders proposed to threaten Rome with 
war rather than make war on her, since the strongest 
cohorts had already abandoned Vitellius, and it 
seemed probable that if all his resources were cut 
off", lie would give up the imperial power. " But all 
plans," they said, " had been spoiled first by the 
haste of Sabinus and then by his weakness ; for he 
had rashly taken up arms, and later had been unable 
to defend against even three cohorts the citadel of 
the Capitoline, which, with its strong fortifications, 
could have resisted the attacks of even great armies." 
But it would not be easy to fix on any individual the 
fault that was common to all. Mucianus held back 
the victors by ambiguous letters, while Antonius, by 
his untimely compliance or in his eff'orts to shift the 
blame to him, rendered himself culpable, and the 
rest of the commanders, by assuming that the war 
was over, made its close notorious. '^ Not even 
Petilius Cerialis, who had been sent on in advance 
with a thousand horse under orders to proceed by 
the roads across the Sabine country and to enter 
Rome by the Salarian Way, advanced with proper 
speed until the report that the Capitol was besieged 
spurred all to action at the same time. 

LXXIX. Antonius, advancing along the Flaminian 
Road, reached Rubra Saxa 2 late at night ; but the 

465 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

multo iam noctis serum auxilium vcnit. Illic inter- 
fectum Sabinurrij conflagrasse Capitol ium, tremere 
urberDj niaesta omnia accepit ; plebem quoque et 
servitia pro Vitellio armari nuntiabatur. Et Petilio 
Ceriali equestre proelium adversum fuerat ; namque 
incautum et tamquam ad victos ruentem Vitelliani, 
interiectus equiti pedes, excepere. Pugnatum baud 
procul urbe inter aedificia hortosque et anfractus 
viarum, quae gnara Vitellianis, incomperta liostibus 
metum fecerant. Neque omnis eques concors, 
adiunctis quibusdam, qui nuper apud Narniam dediti 
fortunam partium speculabantur. Capitur praefectus 
alae lulius^ Flavianus ; ceteri foeda fuga consternan- 
tur, non ultra Fidenas secutis victoribus. 

LXXX. Eo successu studia popuH aucta ; vulgus 
urbanum arma cepit. Faucis scuta militaria, plures 
raptis- quod cuique obvium telis signum pugnae 
exposcunt. Agit grates Vitellius et ad tuendam 
urbem prorumpere iubet. Mox vocato senatu de- 
liguntur legati ad exercitus ut jiraetexto rei j)ublicae 
concordiam pacemque suaderent. Varia legatorum 
sors fuit. Qui Petilio Ceriali occurrerant extremum 
discrimen adiere, aspernante milite condiciones pacis. 

' lulius Agricola : tulius J/. ^ rapti M. 

466 



BOOK III. LXXIX.-LXXX. 

assistance he brought was not in time. At Rubra 
Saxa he heard only the sad news that Sabinus had 
been killed, the Capitol burned, that the city was 
in a panic ; it was further reported that the common 
people even and the slaves were arming to support 
Vitellius. Moreover, the horsemen of Petilius 
Cerialis had been worsted in an engagement, for 
when he advanced carelessly and in haste, as if 
he were proceeding against a defeated foe, the 
Vitellians met him with a force in which foot and 
horse were ranged together. The battle took place 
not far from the city among buildings and gardens 
and winding streets, which were familiar to the 
Vitellians but strange to their opponents, who were 
consequently frightened. Moreover, not all of 
Cerialis's horsemen had the same sentiments, for 
some had been assigned to his troop who had lately 
surrendered at Narnia and who consequently were 
watching the fortunes of the two parties. Julius 
Flavianus, prefect of a squadron, was captured ; all 
the rest fled in shameful flight, but the victors did 
not pursue them beyond Fidenae. 

LXXX. This success increased the enthusiasm of 
the people. The populace at Rome took up arms. 
A few had shields ; the majority hastily seized 
whatever weapons came to hand and demanded 
the signal for battle. Vitellius thanked them and 
ordered them to sally forth to defend the city. 
Later the senate was convened and selected repre- 
sentatives to go to the armies and to persuade 
them in the interests of the state to agree on 
peace. The fortunes of these envoys varied. Those 
who met Petilius Cerialis ran the greatest dangers, 
for his soldiers scorned all terms of peace. They 

467 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Vulneratur praetor Arulenus Rusticus : auxit invi- 
diam super violatum legati praetorisque nomen 
propria dignatio viri. Pulsantur^ comites, occiditur 
proximus lictor, dimovere turbam ausus : et ni date 
a duce praesidio defensi forent, sacrum etiam inter ^ 
exteras gentis legatorum ius ante ipsa patriae 
moenia civilis rabies usque in exitium temerasset. 
Aequioribus animis aceepti sunt qui ad Antonium 
venerant, non quia modestior miles, sed duci plus 
auctoritatis. 

LXXXI. Miscuerat se legatis Musonius Rufus 
equestris ordinis, studium philosophi-ie et placita 
Stoicorum aemulatus ; coeptabatque permixtus mani- 
pulis, bona pacis ac belli discrimina disserens, armatos 
monere. Id plerisque ludibrio, pluribus taedio : nee 
deerantqui propellerent proculcarentque, ni admonitu 
modestissimi cuiusque et aliis minitantibus omisisset 
intempestivam sapientiam. Obviae fuere et virgines 
Vestales cum epistulis Vitellii ad Antonium scriptis : 
eximi supremo certamini ^ unum diem postulabat : si 
moram interiecissent, facilius omnia conventura. 
Virgines cum honore dimissae ; Vitellio rescriptum 

^ pulsantur Kiessling : palantur M. 
* in M. ^ certamine M. 



^ A prominent Stoic wTio was put to death by Domitian in 

94 A.D. 

* The teacher of Epietetus. His complete works have 
been lost, but large parts exist in quotations by other 
writers. 

468 



BOOK III. LXXX.-LXXXI, 

actually wounded the praetor Arulenus Rusticus.^ 
His high personal character increased the indigna- 
tion naturally felt at this violence done an envoy 
and this insult inflicted on a praetor. His atten- 
dants were driven off; the lictor nearest him was 
killed when he dared to try to make a way through 
the crowd ; and in fact if Cerialis had not given 
the envoys a guard to protect them, the persons 
of ambassadors, whose sanctity is respected even 
among foreign nations, would have been violated 
in the madness of civil strife, and the envoys killed 
before the very walls of their native city. A fairer 
hearing was given tlie, delegates who went to 
Antonius, not because his soldiers were less violent, 
but because the general had more authority. 

LXXXI. Musonius Rufus^ had joined these dele- 
gates. He was a member of the equestrian order, 
a man devoted to the study of philosophy and in 
particular to the Stoic doctrine. Making his way 
among the companies, he began to warn those in 
arms, discoursing on the blessings of peace and the 
dangers of war. Many were moved to ridicule by 
his words, more were bored ; and there were some 
ready to jostle him about and to trample on him, 
if he had not listened to the warnings of the quieter 
soldiers and the threats of others and given up 
his untimely moralizing. The troops were also met 
by Vestals who brought letters from Vitellius to 
Antonius. Vitellius asked that the decisive conflict 
be put off" for one day only, and urged that if 
they only delayed, they could come more easily to 
a complete agreement. The Vestals were sent back 
with honour ; the reply to Vitellius was that by 
killing Sabinus and burning the Capitol he had 

469 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

Sabini caede et incendio Capitolii dirempta^ belli 
commercia. 

LXXXII. Temptavit tamen Antonius vocatas ad 
contionem legiones mitigare, ut castris iuxta pontem 
Mulvium positis postera die urbeni ingrederentur. 
Ratio cunctandij ne asperatus proelio miles non 
populoj non senatui, ne templis quideni ac delubris 
deorum consuleret. Sed omnem prolationem ut 
inimicam victoiMae suspectabant ; simul fulgentia per 
collis vexilla, quamquam imbellis ^^opuhis sequeretur, 
speciem hostilis exercitus fecerant. Tripertito ag- 
mine pars, ut adstiterat,'- Flaminia via, pais iuxta 
ripam Tiberis incessit ; tertium agmen per Salariam 
Collinae portae propinquabat. Plebs invectis equiti- 
bus fusa ; miles Vitellianus trinis et ipse praesidiis 
occurrit. Proelia ante urbem multa et varia, sed 
Flavianis consilio ducum praestantibus saepius 
prospera. li tantum conflictati sunt qui in partem 
sinistram urbis ad Sallustianos hortos per angusta 
et lubrica viarum flexerant. Supei'stantes maceriis 
hortorum Vitelliani ad serum usque diem saxis 
pilisque subeuntis arcebant donee ab equitibus, qui 
porta Collina inruperant, circumvenirentur. Con- 
currere et in campo Martio infestae acies. Pro 
Flavianis 3 fortuna et parta totiens victoria : Vitelliani 

1 direpta M. ^ adsisterat J/. ^ prosluvianus J/. 

^ The Ludovisi quarter, in the north part of the city. 
* Over the Salarian Way. 

470 



BOOK III. LXXXI.-LXXXII. 

made all communication between the two sides 
impossible. 

LXXXII. None the less^ Antonius assembled his 
legions and tried to calm and persuade them to 
camp by the Mulvian bridge and enter the city 
the next day. He desired this delay, for he feared 
that his troops, exasperated by battle, might have 
no regard for the people, the senate, or even for 
the temples and shrines of the gods. But his men 
suspected every delay as inimical to their victory ; 
at the same time the standards which gleamed 
among the hills, although followed by an unarmed 
crowd, had presented the appearance of a hostile 
army. The Flavian forces advanced in three 
columns : part continued in their course along the 
Flaminian Way, part along the bank of the Tiber ; 
the third column approached the Colline gate by the 
Salarian Way. The mass of civilians was dispersed 
by a cavalry charge ; but the troops of Vitellius also 
advanced in three columns to defend the city. 
There were many engagements before the walls 
with varied results, yet the Flavian forces, being 
more ably led, were more often successful. The 
only troops that met with serious trouble were those 
who had moved through narrow and slippery streets 
toward the left quarter of the city and the gardens 
of Sallust.^ The Vitellian forces, climbing on top 
of the walls that surrounded the gardens, blocked 
their opponents' approach with a shower of stones 
and javelins until late in the day, when they were 
finally surrounded by the cavalry that had broken in 
through the Colline gate.^ The hostile forces met 
also in the Campus Martius. The Flavians had 
good fortune and many victories on their side ; the 

471 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

desperatione sola ruebant, et quamquam pulsi, rursus 
in urbe coiigregabantur. 

LXXXIII. Aderat pugnantibus spectator populus, 
utque in ludicro certamine, hoSj rursus illos clamore 
et plausu fovebat. Quotiens pars altera inclinasset, 
abditos in tabernis aut si quam in domum perfu- 
gerant, erui iugularique expostulantes parte maiore 
praedae potiebantur : nam milite ad sanguinem et 
caedis obverso spolia in vulgus cedebant. Saeva ac 
deformis urbe tota facies : alibi ^ proelia et vulnera, 
alibi balineae popinaeque ; simul cruor et strues 
corporum^ iuxta scorta et seortis similes ; quantum 
in luxurioso otio libidinuni, quidquid in acerbissima 
captivitate scelerum, prorsus ut eandem civitatem et 
furere crederes et lascivire. Conllixerant et^ ante 
armati exercitus in urbe, bis Lucio Sulla, semel 
Cinna victoribus, nee tunc minus crudelitatis : nunc 
inhumana secui'itas et ne mijiimo quidem temporis 
voluptates intermissae : velut festis diebus id quoque 
gaudium accederet, exultabant, fruebantur, nulla 
partium cura, mails publicis laeti. 

LXXXIV. Plurimum molisin obpugnatione castro- 
rum fuit, quae acerrimus quisque ut novissimam 
spem retinebant. Eo intentius victores, praecipuo 

1 alii M. 2 et ^dd. RUter. 

1 In 88, 87, and 82 B.C. 
472 



BOOK III. LXXXIII.-LXXXIV. 

Vitellians rushed forward, prompted only by despair, 
and even though beaten, they kept forming again 
within the city. 

LXXXIII. The populace stood by watching the 
combatants, as if they were at games in the circus ; 
by their shouts and applause they encouraged first 
one party and then the other. If one side gave 
way and the soldier§ hid in shops or sought refuge 
in some private house, the onlookers demanded that 
they be dragged out and killed ; for so they gained 
a larger share of booty, since the troops were wholly 
absorbed in their bloody work of slaughter, while 
the spoils fell to the rabble. Horrible and hideous 
sights were to be seen everywhere in the city : here 
battles and wounds, there open baths and drinking 
shops ; blood and piles of corpses, side by side with 
hatlots and the compeers of harlots. There were all 
the debauchery and passion that obtain in a dissolute 
peace, every crime that can be committed in the 
most savage conquest, so that men might well have 
believed that the city was at once mad with rage 
and drunk with pleasure. It is true that armed 
forces had fought before this in the city, twice 
when Lucius Sulla gained his victories and once 
when Cinna won.^ There was no less cruelty then 
than now ; but now men showed inhuman indifference 
and never relaxed their pleasures for a single 
moment. As if this were a new delight added to 
their holidays, they gave way to exultation and joy, 
wholly indifferent to either side, finding pleasure in 
public misfortune. 

LXXXIV. The greatest difficulty was met in 
taking the Praetorian Camp, which the bravest 
soldiers defended as their last hope. The resistance 

473 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

veterum cohortium studio, cuncta validissimarum 
urbium excidiis reperta simul admo\ ent, testudinem 
tormenta aggeres facesque, quidquid tot proeliis 
laboris ac periculi hausissent, opere illo consummari 
clamitantes. Urbem senatui ac populo Romano, 
templa dis reddita : proprium esse militis decus in 
castris: illam patriam, illos penatis. Ni statim 
recipiantur, noctem in armis agendam. Contra 
Vitelliani, quamquani numero fatoque dispares, 
inquietare victoriam, niorari pacem, domos arasque 
cruore foedare suprema victis solacia amplectebantur. 
Multi semianimes super turris et propugnacula 
moenium expiravere : convulsis portis reliquus globus 
obtulit se victoribus, et cecidere omnes contrariis 
vuhieribus, versi in hostem : ea cura etiam mori- 
entibus decori exitus fuit. 

^'itellius capta urbe per aversam Palatii partem 
Aventinum in domum uxoris sellula defertur, ut si 
diem latebra vitavisset, Tarracinam ad cohortis 
fratremque perfugeret. Dein mobiUtate ingenii et, 
quae natura pavoris est, cum omnia metuenti prae- 
sentia maxime displicerent, in Palatium regreditur 

^ Cf. the note on cliap. 27 above. 
474 



BOOK III. Lxxxiv. 

made the victors only the more eager, the old 
praetorian cohorts being especially determined. 
They employed at the same time every device that 
had ever been invented for the destruction of the 
strongest cities — the " tortoise," ^ artillery, earth- 
works, and firebrands — shouting that all the labour 
and danger that they had suffered in all their 
battles would be crowned by this achievement. 
" We have given back tiie city to the senate and 
the Roman people," they cried ; " we have restored 
the temples to the gods. The soldier's glory is in 
his camp : that is his native city, that his penates. 
If the camp is not at once recovered, we must spend 
the night under arms." On their side the Vitellians, 
imequal though they were in numbers and in fortune, 
by striving to spoil the victory, to delay peace, and 
to defile the houses and altars of the city with blood, 
embraced the last solace left to the conquered. 
Many, mortally wounded, breathed their last on the 
towers and battlements ; when the gates were 
broken down, the survivors in a solid mass opposed 
the victors and to a man fell giving blow for blow, 
dying with faces to the foe ; so anxious were they, 
even at the moment of death, to secure a glorious 
end. 

On the capture of the city Vitellius was carried 
on a chair through the rear of the palace to his 
wife's house on the Aventine, so that, in case he 
succeeded in remaining undiscovered during the 
day, he might escape to his brother and the cohorts 
at Tarracina. But his fickle mind and the very 
nature of terror, which makes the present situation 
always seem the worst to one who is fearful of 
everything, drew him back to the palace. This he 

475 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

vastum desertumque, dilapsis etiam in6mis servi- 
tioruin aut occursum eius declinantibus. Terret 
solitudo et tacentes loci ; temptat clausa^ inhorrescit 
vacuis : fessusque misero errore et pudenda latebra 
semet occultans ab lulio Placido tribuno cohortis 
protrahitur. Vinctae pone tergum manus ; laniata 
veste, foedum spectaculunij ducebatur, multis incre- 
pantibus, nullo inlacrimante : deformitas exitus 
misericordiam abstulerat. Obvius e Germanicis 
militibus Vitelliurh infesto ictu per iram, vel quo 
maturius ludibrio eximeret, an tribunum adpetierit, 
in incerto fuit : aurem tribuni amputavit ac statim 
confossus est. 

LXXXV. Vitellium infestis mucronibus coactum 
modo erigere os et ofFerre contumeliis, nunc cadentis 
statuas suas, plerumque rostra aut Galbae occisi 
locum contueri, postremo ad Gemonias, ubi corpus 
Flavii Sabini iacuerat, propulere. Una vox non 
degeneris animi excepta, cum tribuno insultanti se 
tamen imperatorem eius fuisse respondit ; ac deinde 
ingestis vulneribus concidit. Et vulgus eadem 
pravitate insectabatur interfectum qua foverat 
viventem. 

LXXXVI. Patria illi Luceria^: septimum et quin- 
quagensimum aetatis annum explebat, consulatum, 
sacerdotia, nomen locumque inter primores nulla sua 

^ Patria illi Luceria Oberlin : patrein illi luceria M. 

1 The date was either Dec. 20 or 21, 69 a.d. 
476 



BOOK III. LXXKIV.-LXXXVI. 

found empty and deserted, for even the meanest 
of his slaves had slipped away or else avoided 
meeting him. The solitude and the silent spaces 
filled him with fright : he tried the rooms that were 
closed and shuddered to find them empty. Ex- 
hausted by wandering forlornly about, he concealed 
himself in an unseemly hiding-place ; but Julius 
Placidus, tribune of a cohort, dragged him to the 
light. With his arms bound behind his back, his 
garments torn, he presented a grievous sight as 
he was led away. Many cried out against him, not 
one shed a tear ; the ugliness of the last scene had 
banished pity. One of the soldiers from Germany 
met him and struck at him in rage, or else his 
purpose was to remove him the quicker from insult, 
or he may have been aiming at the tribune — no one 
could tell. He cut off the tribune's ear and was at 
once run through. 

LXXXV^. Vitellius was forced at the point of the 
sword now to lift his face and offer it to his captors' 
insults, now to see his own statues falling, and 
to look again and again on the rostra or the place 
where Galba had been killed. Finally, the soldiers 
drove him to the Gemonian stairs where the body 
of Flavins Sabinus had recently been lying. His 
only utterance marked his spirit as not ignoble, for 
when the tribune insulted him, he replied, " Yet 
I was your Emperor." Then he fell under a shower 
of blows ; and the people attacked his body after he 
was dead with the same base spirit with which they 
had fawned on him while he lived. ^ 

LXXXVI. His native city was Luceria. He had 
nearly completed the fifty-seventh year of his age. 
The consulate, priesthoods, a name and place 

477 



THE HISTORIES OF TACITUS 

industria, set! cuncta patris claritudine adeptus. 
Principatum ei detulere ^ qui ipsuni non noverant : 
stadia exercitus raro cuiquam bonis artibus quaesita 
perinde adfuere quam huic per ignaviam. Inerat 
tamen simplicitas ac liberalitas, quae, ni adsit modus, 
in exitium vertuntur. Amicitias dum magnitudine 
munerum, non constantia moi'um contineri - putat, 
meruit magis quam habuit. Rei publicae baud dubie 
intereat Vitellium vinci^^sed imputare perfidiam non 
possunt qui Vitellium Vespasiano prodidere, cum a 
Galba descivissent. 

Praecipiti * in occasum die ob pavorem magis- 
tratuum senatorumque, qui dilapsi ex urbe aut per 
domos clientium semet occultabant, vocari senatus 
non potuit. Domitianum, postquam nihil hostile 
metuebatur, ad duces partium progressum et 
Caesarem consalutatum miles frequens utque erat 
in armis in paternos penatis deduxit. 

1 ei detulere Ehenanus: eideni tulere M. 
" contineri Acidaliiis -. continere M. 
^ vieinis M. 
* precipit ^1/. 



478 



BOOK III. Lxxxvi. 

among the first men of his day, lie acquired by no 
merit of his own but wholly through his father's 
eminence. The men who gave him the principate 
did not know him. Seldom has the support of the 
army been gained by any man through honourable 
means to the degree that he won it through his 
worthlessness. Yet his nature was marked by 
simplicity and liberality — qualities which, if un- 
checked, prove the ruin of their possessor. Think- 
ing, as he did, that friendships are cemented by 
great gifts rather than by high character, he bought 
more friends than he kept. Undoubtedly it was to 
the advantage of the state that Vitellius should fall, 
but those who betrayed him to Vespasian cannot 
make a virtue of their own treachery, for they had 
already deserted Galba. 

The day hurried to its close. It was impossible 
to summon the senate because the senators had 
stolen away from the city or were hiding in their 
clients' houses. Now that he had no enemies to 
fear, Domitian presented himself to the leaders of 
liis father's party, and was greeted by them as 
Caesar ; then crowds of soldiers, still in arms, escorted 
him to his ancestral hearth. 



479 




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